The Carlos Jones Reggae Summer Wrap…through the eyes of the newcomer.
by Michael Greenland
Having gotten my first taste of the “family” in November, everyone told me that outdoor shows would be a real game-changer. Dancing under the stars looking out at the trees in Twinsburg on Memorial Day Weekend, I completely understood. But I didn’t really get the magic until the next week at Playhouse Square…felt small, intimate…like it really was a private show for the family. First group picture of the summer…making after-show plans…extending the good times. That became the theme of summer.
Hessler…Wade Oval…the big events were great, but I kinda appreciated the smaller nights a bit more. And the season ended well…Whiskey Island, NEO Cleveland at Edgewater, and Cleveland Eats were spirited days and nights in September when we just wanted to hold summer slightly longer.
Anyone who was there will probably say there was no night like Edgewater Live. 20, 000 people, and us with our toes in the sand seeing the sun set gloriously to irie music. The love was high that night. (Not to mention the Soul Train dance line at the tent of one Willie Lawson between sets)
I remember a week with three shows in four nights. Solstice at Howe Meadow. And the summer wasn’t all Carlos. How about Ark Band to Mo’Mojo on Sunday, then Ziggy on Monday and a “family” picnic at Edgewater for the 4th the day after…with Carlos shows back at Edgewater Thursday and Lakewood Library Friday? That was one week of my life, people… (largely spent with Donna Bell) Umojah Nation off the 9th Street pier? Jah Messengers with a beautiful sunset at Euclid Beach? BLESSED!!
Even the indoor shows took on a different feel. There was a night at Brothers that had a spiritual love vibe from all who were there. Sitting on the patio between sets at Vosh felt like being back in Steve Mariakis and Michaelann deVille’s backyard again. (Vosh sidenote…remember getting there right as Maxwell Eger scammed the parking spot next to the door…not knowing what would happen in that car a few days later. Continued healing, Max…)
I wanted to be a part of this vibe from the moment I first showed up last November. For the longest time, i felt accepted but distant…awkward. I get it now. I’m still awkward 😳…but it’s all about shared experiences. This summer…whether at shows or finding each other elsewhere…was one big family party. My summer was sitting in the grass talking life with my beloved #littlereggaesister Erin Presutti. Memories.
The music is beautiful, and artistically excellent. The band is great. But as anyone on this ride knows, it’s never been about that. It’s the community. The living the message we hear in the songs. The lifestyle. It’s called the Peace, Love, and Unity Syndicate for a reason. It’s taking in the love you feel from the person beside you, and passing it along to the person in front of you. It fills your soul in a way you can never describe to people who just don’t get it.
Now we’ll go inside. Lose some of the ambiance, sure…but regain some intimacy, maybe. See y’all at Time Warp on Saturday…if I don’t see you sooner.