Photos and article By Empress K, Reggae Reflection
The Montreal International Reggae Festival (MIRF) taking place in the Old Port of Montreal is an annual festival that I look forward to covering the 2nd week of August each year. In the time that I’ve been covering the event, I’ve come to appreciate the quality multi-day Reggae music festival combined with a beautiful location and supportive Reggae community in one of my favorite international cities.
This year, the festival celebrated its 12th year with leading names in Reggae, and Dancehall and this year included R&B as well with top-notch performances by newcomers and veteran performers alike. On Friday evening, Beres Hammond returned after four years with a vibrant performance to kick off the three day weekend in style.
Saturday’s line up featured a variety of new and veteran dancehall artists. Rising dancehall stars Kranium and Dexta Daps who have each dominated dancehall charts, thrilled the audience prior to an entertaining performance by the Queen of the Dancehall, Lady Saw.
The only artist that could top Lady Saw’s performance was none other than Dancehall legend, Shabba Ranks making a rare, but stellar performance to close out Saturday’s popular dancehall night.
The final day of the festival was off to a great start when Sunday’s program welcomed the return performance of the four-time Juno award winning Canadian/Jamaican artist Exco Levi, followed by upcoming Jamaican artist Iba Mahr, making his first appearance in Canada and I am sure he will be back!
Next up was the R&B classic group, The Manhattans, who the stole the show early on performing all their classic hits, followed by the popular British/Jamaican Bitty Mclean, known for his Lovers Rock hits who also made his first appearance at the festival.
Veteran performer, Cocoa Tea returning to the festival as always was a crowd favorite! This year he was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement award bestowed on him by the festival committee.
Tarrus Riley had the appropriate honor this year to close out the three day festival and in a surprise moment, he welcomed Shabba Ranks along with Cocoa Tea back to the stage for a collaboration which will go down in history as one of the most memorable moments of the festival to see all three legends on stage at the same time.
The Montreal International Reggae Festival in its twelfth year continues to be a premier destination Reggae Festival, a quality experience and location not to be missed.