Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
According to the website, www.ColumbusCaribbeanFestival.com, this was to be held at the Scioto mile (downtown Columbus). The festival was on the other side of the River near COSI. Everyone seemed to get the memo to park at a meter. There wasn’t an available meter within a mile of the event. I paid $5 to park in the COSI lot. I wanted to pay cash but COSI was closed and I couldn’t find where I was supposed to pay; so, I had to pay by credit card. It was hot. There was a little shade; but, hardly any breeze.
How old are they?
The youngest is 8 years old. He is a chanter and he dances around. The oldest is 21 years old. She plays the drums. Then, there is everybody in between.
Is everybody related?
Yes. Pretty much.
Are they doing original music?
Yes. They have some recordings in the studio that are coming up soon.
We are a roots band. We try to do new roots for the young people, but we primarily do foundation music. We do some originals, but we do covers for the people. I write the music (instrumentation) and my cousin that you just talked (I didn’t catch his name) writes the lyrics. The band members also write their own music.
You have on an interesting outfit. You were telling me you did what yesterday?
Yesterday we did soca dancing. About 30 of us came out and danced.
How long have you been soca dancing?
About three months. This is my first year.
I assume that with the outfit you basically shake everything. Is that correct?
Yes, basically and have a good time.
Anything else you want me to know?
I love soca dancing. Our instructor is Melinda Miranda (look her up on Facebook). Get some feathers and join us next year.
I am having a fantastic time. We have been listening to music. I thought it would be nice to have auntie and great niece time. It has been fun seeing people. They did a conga line. It is fun meeting people of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Angel: We have a nice lady here painting faces. She does a lot of decorations on your face. It is very fun to be here, and I really enjoy it.
Tell me what you want us to know.
My beauty company is called I Envi Beauty. I am a professional makeup artist. I do special event makeup such as proms, weddings, home coming, special effects, face painting, and body painting. Here at the Caribbean Festival, I have the Glitter Express, which is a glitter body art company. I also sell glitter cosmetics. Come check out the Caribbean Festival. This was an amazing weekend, amazing vibes, delicious food, and beautiful people. I’m so happy this is here in Columbus.
Is this your first year attending the Caribbean Festival?
Yes. I have been in Columbus for four years. I am originally from Jamaica.
It is fantastic people, wonderful music, great food, and a great place to network. It’s just a good place to cool down and feel irie.
What are you saying? What is irie?
Irie is good. It’s awesome. It’s nice. It’s cool and laid back. It is wonderful. It is what you feel when you are in ecstasy or full bliss.
Is it an island term?
Yes, it is an island term.
I will say this about the African culture. It is good to come together and celebrate who we are, in every form, in every way, with all our talents and be able to express ourselves. Then, we will realize how many other people can relate to us. It is a beautiful thing to belong to such a rising culture.
I’m here to support Lungu Vybez. I sell merchandise for the Ark Band. I help set up, tear down and go out on the road with them. We are supporting local reggae music.
Do you play an instrument?
I play the guitar. I also do some vocals.
Is reggae your main genre?
Reggae is probably more the focus that I play now; but, I come from a punk rock background.
Check out www.arkband.com. Come out to support when you can.
What do you want me to know?
Last year was the first year of the festival. This year is much bigger. It is three days. It is going well. We played on Friday night and it was a blast.
Where are you from?
How long have you been here?
I have been in Ohio for 33 years.
How long have you been playing bass for the Ark Band?
Go to our website to see our schedule. In the month of February, we do a Bob Marley celebration tour. We also play a lot of gigs around town.
How does it feel to be the oldest and the leader of the band?
It is a lot of work. We are also young, so we are still in school. We have jobs. We still manage to pull it together to practice and rehearse so we can do what we must do.
Stay tuned. We are still young. We are still perfecting our craft. We are going to work hard to provide more content.
A few more pictures….
My advice is to bring a credit card just in case you need to park in the COSI lot. If the event is held at the same location, bring a chair. There is a little bit of shade available; but, to be safe, bring a visor or even an umbrella. This is a festival to relax, listen to music, network, and people watch.