Reggae fans groove at Roy Wilkins Park

Marcia Griffiths and Ken Boothe performing at Groovin’ in the Park, Queens.
Photo by Toni Dubois, file

Thousands of reggae fans migrated to Roy Wilkins Park in Queens on June 29 to attend the most anticipated event of the summer, the 4th annual Groovin’ in the Park festival known as New York’s most classy summer music festival of the year. Headlining this year’s event was Reggae hit machine Beres Hammond and Australian pop-rock legends Air Supply.

Chronixx, hailed as one of Jamaica’s most talked about raising roots stars, and his band Zinc Fence Redemption made their NYC festival debut, and Marcia Griffiths celebrated her 50th year in reggae with a couple of her friends (John Holt, Judy Mowatt and Bob Andy). The one-day event showcased the most exciting elements of Jamaican culture with its scrumptious lip-smacking cuisine and the exciting array of vibrant colors worn by many.

With over 100 million albums sold worldwide, Australian soft-rock pop legends Air Supply have scored eight Top 10 Billboard hits in the United States, including anthems such as “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All,” “Good Bye,” “Its Never Too Late” and “Lost In Love,” which was named “Song Of The Year” in 1980. The group mesmerized music fans at the 2011 Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival and their performance at Groovin In The Park was no different.

Marcia Griffiths, one of the original members of the legendary Bob Marley’s I-threes, deservedly crowned the Empress of Reggae, celebrated her 50 years in reggae. During her set at Groovin in The Park, she performed her chart-topping success with “Electric Boogie” (a song written by Bunny Wailer) along with many of the crowd favorites including “Truly” and “Feel like jumping.” Griffiths also performed alongside Judy Mowatt (original I-Threes member), veteran singer John Holt and long-time singing partner Bob Andy.

Jamar Rolando McNaughton known as “Chronnix” is hailed as Jamaica’s next mega star is one of the hottest new reggae artists around. Known as a conscious singer-songwriter has often been compared to Dennis Brown energy or Bob Marley vibe performed the crowd favorite “They don’t know” “Here Comes Trouble” and “Smile Jamaica.” After Chronnix’s performance, there was a short set change and a rocking DJ set by Inferno, teased the crowd with a mix of old and new school rockers music, preparing fans for something big that was about to happen. You could almost feel the change in the air. The man (Beres Hammond) that everyone had been waiting for was about to appear on stage. The anticipation of waiting for him was almost unbearable. He finally sauntered on the stage the crowd erupted in screams, yelling out his name. Beres greeted the crowd and began with a series of short song snippets. He playfully led the audience with “What One Dance Can Do” and “She Loves Me Now.” In true Beres fashion, he continued to flirt and tease the crowd engaging them in a playful banter. One can tell he truly loves performing on stage and it shows in every song and in his every step, it was fun and full of energy. It was well worth waiting the blazing hot sun for a man who truly knows how to put on great performance.

Groovin’ In The Park 2014 will be a day to remember. Sponsors supporting the celebration this year included Grace Kennedy, Caribbean Life, TD Bank, SQPA, Nutrament, MoneyGram, The Smoke House, The Door Restaurant, Bullzii and Groovin Radio.