THE serenity of Virginia Key Beach Park in Key Biscayne, Miami was rocked by the pulsating sounds of reggae, Rhythm and Blues and hip hop last Saturday, during the 19th staging of the 9 Mile Music Festival.
Thousands of patrons comprising a mainly hippie crowd, soaked up quality performances at the annual fundraising event which is the brainchild of Cedella Booker, reggae legend Bob Marley's mother.
Leading the way was singer Tarrus Riley and his Blak Soil band. His performance was built around songs like Beware, Backbiter, Far Away, Superman, Never Leave I, Protect the People, Stay With You, Good Girl Gone Bad and the perennial favourite She's Royal.
Riley's musical director, saxophonist Dean Fraser, was also in fine form. He engaged Riley in a musical showdown which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.
Old school singer Coco Tea also did well, throwing down Holy Mount Zion, Waiting in Vain (in tribute to Bob Marley), Rikers Island, Love Me Truly, She Loves Me Now, Israel's King, Tune In, and Good Life.
It was Capleton who whipped the crowd into a frenzy with fiery numbers such as Slew Dem, Hunt You and Good Inna Har Clothes. He connected with the crowd and spoke passionately about the importance of equal rights and education.
Rhythm and blues singer Melanie Fiona, the sole female artiste, delivered a three song set which was affected by technical problems. American rapper Wale was a hit with the teenagers.
Veteran Burning Spear, a roots contemporary of Marley, represented well and had the crowd singing along to classics like Great Men and Marcus Garvey.
The Marley brothers Stephen, Julian and Damian closed the festival with a stirring set riddled with tributes to their late father, Bob Marley. They threw in songs from their respective repertoires much to the delight of the full house. Spragga Benz made a cameo appearance.
Bermudan reggae artiste Collie Buddz, Kevens, Nu Look, and Richie Spice also performed.