Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Reggae festival brings a bit of the Caribbean to downtown Reno

Summer-like heat didn't stop the cool Caribbean sounds of reggae from carrying through downtown Reno streets along the Truckee River on Saturday.

The River Roots Reggae festival 2007 brought folks of all ages down to the river to honor the late reggae legend Bob Marley.

It is the third year of the event, also called "The Biggest Little Babylon Celebration." The festival is hosted by Sydney Sukuta and his Reno African art store, Bantu Spirit, located along the river.

The festival was organized by Tracy "Too Dread" Moore, a Reno native and disc jockey on KTHX FM 100.1 in Reno. "Too Dread" hosts "The Reggae show" on KTHX from

8 to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

"We're trying to bring a little more culture in the community," Moore said. "Sydney sought us out. We linked this together, and it worked out well."

The festival featured live performances and cuisine courtesy of B and Jay's African and Caribbean Fusion Catering of Reno.

"I'm really excited about the turn out," Moore added. "It's a good vibe, a lot of culture and a nice way to spend a Saturday."

An acoustic reggae rock band, the Mark Sexton Trio of Reno, opened the show with original songs and a few covers from the Long Beach, Calif., 1990s band, Sublime.

Moore is the founder and original member of Jahzilla, a multicultural, homegrown Reno Reggae band that's been performing for about four years. The band was Saturday's featured players.

The band is ever-changing and now features two former Black Panthers from Oakland, Calif. Also accompanying the band on stage in Reno was Stan Rankin T, a reggae veteran disc jockey dating back to the late 1970s who now is featured on KUNV FM in Las Vegas.

Moore describes an expanding cultural scene in Reno.

"It's going to be good for the future," he said. "This celebration is to bring together all ages and different cultures in the community. And it's something that everyone can enjoy. Reggae is internationally known."

"I love it here," Moore said of Reno. "So many different things are always going on. It's a wonderful community full of different people and opportunities. Reno is one of the coolest places to be. This (region) rules."

  • Check out the Tracy "Too Dread" radio show from 8 to 10 p.m. Sunday nights on KTWX 100.1.
  • Bantu Spirit is located at 17 S. Virginia St., next to Dreamers Coffee House.

  • Reed High School sophomore Damian Hirai, 16, plays the tenor saxophone in the Mark Sexton Band during the River Roots Reggae festival 2007 on Saturday afternoon. The concert drew a steady audience of about 200 people.


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