Reggae Fest brings a jammin’ vibe to Wakefield

Posted 4/17/24

The weather is warming up, which means that thoughts of going to the beach and basking in the sun are soon going to pop up in people’s minds. With every environment there’s often a …

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Reggae Fest brings a jammin’ vibe to Wakefield


The weather is warming up, which means that thoughts of going to the beach and basking in the sun are soon going to pop up in people’s minds. With every environment there’s often a soundtrack and reggae music goes with sunny days and positive vibes unlike any other genre. It also goes pretty well with the date of 4/20, and that’s when the first annual “Reggae Fest” will be taking place within the village of South Kingstown known as Wakefield. A variety of local and regional acts are going to be performing behind Phil’s Main Street Grill and the Contemporary Theater Company on 323-327 Main Street starting at 2pm. It also marks the first “RiverFire” of the season with contained fires being lit on the Saugatucket River as the pedestrian bridge becomes illuminated and the scent of wood smoke fills the air when the sun starts to set.

The headliners of the festival are Roots of Creation, who initially started out on the campus of Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire during the early 2000s. Led by guitarist and vocalist Brett Wilson, this dynamic act like to refer to their sound with the question “What if Bradley Newell & Jerry Garcia had a baby?”. Their influences of Sublime, Grateful Dead and many others have garnered the band a huge following while sharing the stage with the likes of The Wailers, Fishbone, Slightly Stoopid and Michael Franti. Along with a set of original material, they’re also going to be doing a full performance of music from their latest album “Grateful Dub” that came out last year. As folks could probably tell from the title, the full-length release consists of reggae-infused renditions of the Grateful Dead’s most well-known songs along with a few of their deep cuts.

One of the local bands on the bill is Dudemanbro, who hail from Narragansett. Originally starting as a trio with vocalist and guitarist Kyle Bell, bassist Keith Kosut and drummer Jim Plaziak, this act has expanded their sound over the years by bringing saxophonist Joey Ludwig, trumpet player Luca Simeone, trombonist Hogan Zinn, guitarist Matt Lombardi and organist and pianist Mike Danserea into the fold. This inclusion has brought their reggae-influenced approach to new heights by incorporating a variety of progressive elements. The best representation of this is their latest full-length album “Beach Bum In Rhode Island”, which was released this past November. Along with performing with his own band, Bell is going to be showcasing his multi-instrumental talents with Roots of Creation as well.

The Connecticut based act Glaucoma Suspect are going to be playing renditions of tunes from Bob Marley & The Wailers while Soulshot and Clatta Bumboo will be rounding out the local presence at the festival. Soulshot has been a reggae staple throughout Rhode Island and beyond for over 20 years and they have a stellar resume that includes being the backing band for numerous reggae and ska legends such as Ernie Smith, Alton Ellis and Doreen Shafer on numerous occasions. They’ve also shared the stage with the likes of Lionel Richie and Chicago while being the closest thing to a musical institution you can get in “The Ocean State”. Clatta Bumboo is a project that’s the creative outlet of the prolific Negril, Jamaica native Sheldon Townsend while exuding an authentic brand of roots reggae that’s simply excellent.

If you’re a fan of reggae music and you’re looking to celebrate April 20th in a very fun way, you should definitely consider “Reggae Fest” in Wakefield. Tickets can be purchased either at the Contemporary Theater Company’s website at or via the Wakefield RI Festivals Facebook page at This is a 21+ event so you should leave the kids at home and find a babysitter if needed if you plan on attending.


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