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Kaya Festival delivers reggae royalty to Bayfront Park Ampitheater

When the Marleys throw a party, you go…… This was what we said to ourselves when we heard about the reunion of the Marley brothers. Sons of the Legend himself, returning to Miami, all on one stage for this one night.

The very first Kaya Fest featuring Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, Ky-Mani and Julian Marley took place this past Saturday, April 22, 2017 on Earth Day at Bayfront Park Amphitheater in Miami, Florida. Apparently, our thought process about not missing a party put on by reggae royalty was also true for a myriad of reggae and hip hop artists. The day was rounded out by a few more Marleys and additional acts such as Bunji Garlin, Inner Circle and Sean Paul to name a few. Hip hop/ R&B legends Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill (formerly of The Fugees) performed separately to the crowd’s delight and we were even treated to a surprise appearance by Mr. 305 himself, Pit Bull!

It has been 48 hours and I am still telling my husband and kids to (insert voice of Sean Paul) “Shake that thing”. Obviously, Sean Paul came out ready to pump up the crowd and get people moving. He told his girls to “Get Busy” shaking their thangs and shaking they did…and twerked, and jumped. He played all the hits that you would have expected him to and the good people of South Florida loved every minute of it.


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Arguably, one of the biggest albums of the late nineties was Grammy award winners The Fugees debut album “The Score”. We were blessed to get performances by two of the three members of this once power house group with Wyclef letting everyone know, he too was waiting for a new Fugees album. Clef no doubt would have made a good President of Haiti but what I can say for sure is he is one talented musical artist. Truly one of the highlights of the evening for me was Clef playing his guitar not only behind his back, but also with his mouth. I think I speak for everyone when I say he most certainly wowed the crowd.

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Up next was what we had all been very patiently waiting for, a historical performance of the legendary kind. The musical legacy Bob Marley left behind is not only thriving, but growing too. Sons, daughters and grandchildren all in attendance and performing alongside one another. Skip & Jo Mersa Marley started the party off with Stephen, Ziggy, Damian, Ky-Mani & Julian joining in on the fun a short bit later.

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 The crowd went WILD for Damian’s son Elijah aka Mini Gong as he showed the world the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My only complaint about the performance was it wasn’t long enough and I would have loved to hear more of their individual songs. Other than that, as you could expect it was absolutely fantastic.


So fantastic it was, we even had the pleasure of witnessing Pit Bull join the stage to perform his new song “Options” with Stephen and he did not disappoint.


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I had more than a few questions about why Lauryn Hill was closing out the night and not a Marley but I kept an open mind about it. For those that do not know Ms. Hill spent a great amount of time as part of the Marley family spending many years as a partner to Bob’s son Rohan producing five more “apples” to join the musical legacy.

Lauryn came out fierce and unapologetic, often waving her arms and directing her band and dancers like a perfectly seasoned orchestra conductor. Within minutes of her singing it became clear she still had it.



If the insanely talented lineup wasn’t enough, there was also a smorgasbord of food choices to warm your belly. Florida roasted corn, jerk chicken, fresh coconuts, mmm mmm good. Wash it all down with a Red Stripe and I really can’t think of a better way to spend my Saturday night, can you? 

Kaya Fest 2018? Wouldn’t miss it and either should you!

For a full gallery of images from this show and many more please click here.



About the author
April Whitney

April Whitney

April Whitney- Photographer, music lover and overall gypsy soul. I found my passion for photography, music, writing, and travel. While on Tour was born out of a desire to combine all of these things and become the wandering soul I have always wanted to be. I love to travel to different festivals, meet new friends and vibe out wherever the music may take me.

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