Ready, Set, ….Reggae

Photos & Review by: Jennifer Fry

The second year of the Reggae Rise up Maryland Festival took place June 23rd, 24th & 25th on the Baltimore Peninsula.

The lineup included the following acts: 

Friday: Vana Liya, Shwayze, Iya Terra, Higher Education, The Elovaters, Dale and the Zdubs, Tribal Seeds, Pepper, Stick Figure, and Koffee.

Saturday: Kbong and Johnny Cosmic, Joe Samba, Fubar, Cydeways, Crooked Coast, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, The Movement, Collie Buddz, Citizen Cope, and Damian Marley.

Sunday: Soul Rebel Project, Passafire, Jah Works, The Expendables, Eli-Mac, Badfish, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Iration, and Rebelution 

Reggae Rise Up Maryland takes place at West Covington Park in downtown Baltimore’s peninsula district. One of the nation’s oldest Atlantic ports in the Chesapeake Bay, this peninsula is filled with changemakers, local artists, designers, entrepreneurs, and environmentalists. A perfect location for both old and new reggae souls old. Only an hour drive from Washington D.C., the reggae festival provided easy access to downtown Baltimore and surrounding locations. Parking was easy, conveniently located directly next to the festival at a daily price. However, with the city being so close, many took advantage of riding city scooters to the venue, as well as ride sharing apps. Later in the evening police officers directed traffic, making it much safer and easier to exit the venue.

Fans started to get nervous a week before the festival with weather reports showing continuous rain all weekend. As the festival drew closer the mood shifted to much excitement and positivity. Of course, typical Maryland weather showed itself with rain, sunshine, clouds, and mugginess all in one weekend. It was a perfect weekend regardless of the crazy weather and attendees did not let it stop them from enjoying the good vibes all around. There were plenty of stores at the festival to shop at in-between sets. Vendors included Blaize Culture, Buddha Pants, Earth to Ocean, Hummingbird 143, Knotty Designs and Woodworks, Kukui Maca, Migdalia, Peace, Love, and Halos, Reggae-N-Things, Sunny Life Hats, Teton Gravity Research, The Moonlit Shell, Then, Now, Always, and Uplift Apparel. Items sold included tie dye apparel, hemp hats, wooden poster frames, beachy themed apparel, jewelry, and the ever-popular halos. 

Food trucks? Craving a bite to eat?

The ever so popular Fistful of Tacos, Stoked Poke, and Underground Pizza were available to satiate any food needs. Also available were Althea’s Almost Famous, Dave’s Smoke & Tacos, Fuzzies Burgers, Grubbing Hard BBQ, Island Noodles, Jun and Juice, Kam and 46, Roti Rolls, Sobeachy, Taharka Brothers, Uncle Phil’s Organic Popcorn, and Zeke’s Coffee. Ther was something to satisfy everyone!


Iya Terra:

Iya Terra which means “higher ground” is a reggae band based out of Los Angeles, California. Their powerful guitar riffs and soothing vocals float melodies of universal resonance ( They released their first EP in 2014 and then their debut album “Full Circle” in 2015. The song “Sacred Sound” reached #1 on the reggae charts. Their second chart topping album called “Coming to Light” followed in 2019. The band brought good vibes, playing songs such as Mind Control, Hold Ah Vibes, and Wiser Now. Iya Terra is always a gem to watch with their big warming smiles and laid-back vibes. I originally caught them on the Sugar Shack music channel ( and have been a big fan since then. Lead singer Nathan, or Nathan _Aurora on Instagram, has an awesome Instagram account where he takes emo rock songs and turns them into reggae songs. His most recent ones included Mr. Brightside by The Killers, and My Heroine by Silverstein. It is one of my favorite pages. Check it out! Check out more at 

Tribal Seeds:

Based out of San Diego, California and formed in 2005 by the Jacobo brothers, Steven, and producer Tony Ray. They have become known for their spiritually driven, refreshing rock vibe infused with the roots style of reggae music. ( Tribal Seeds was one of my new personal favorites over the weekend! Albums include Youth Rebellion, self-titled album, The Harvest, Soundwaves EP, Representing, Second EP Roots Party, and the Live 2020 sessions album. Popular songs include “In Your Eyes”, “Moonlight”, and “The Garden”. One of my favorite performances of the weekend. This was my first time hearing Tribal Seeds, and I am hooked. Their sound pulled me in, and I found myself immediately wanting to listen to them on my music app all weekend long. What really struck me was the loyal fans they have. I appreciate it when you can witness the true love a fan has for their band. The expression on one couple’s face was admiration for their favorite band. The pictures I was able to capture proved that.  Check out more at


Reggae-rock band originally from Hawaii, but not based on San Diego. The band consists of vocalist Kaleo Wassman, Bret Bollinger, and Yesod Williams. They have released a total of 8 studio albums, as well as two live albums. Their music consists of melodic blends of alternative pop/punk, punk, and reggae with heavy influences from bands like Sublime and Steel Pulse. Some popular songs from Pepper include “Warning”, “Stone Love”, and “Carnavel”.  Holy energy! This band does not joke around! They bring massive amounts of energy and momentum to their stage show, and it is met with equal amounts of energy from the audience. The upbeat tempo was a nice deviation from your typical mellow reggae music. We all love mellow reggae, but Pepper brings it with a touch of fire. These guys are fun, interact with the crowd continuously, and bring us something upbeat and wholesome to the mix. Pepper has teamed up with Volcom and pro surfer Ben Brough to create a designer collection of “Pepper” clothing items. You can check out that collection here. More information can be found here .

Stick Figure:

Reggae/Dub band that was founded in 2006 and based out of Southern California. Stick Figure has 7 full length albums, and 1 instrumental album. Albums include: The Sound of My Addiction, Burning Ocean, Smoke Stack, The Reprise Sessions, Burial Ground, Set in Stone, World On Fire, and the latest album Wisdom.  All were written and produced by the leading frontman Scott Woodruff. Woodruff began what has become Stick Figure by starting as a one-man band, layering tracks to create songs. He started to submit tracks to the sublime archive website and adopted the name “Stick Figure”. Nowadays the live band consists of Scott, KBong, Kevin Offitzer, Tommy Suliman, Johnny Cosmic, and Will Phillips. Popular songs by the band include, “Choice is Yours”, “Sound of the Sea”, and “Fire on the Horizon”. The band’s sound is influenced by dub’s deep rhythms, and the melodies lean more towards root reggae. They reached a milestone topping the reggae albums chart and reaching #34 on the Billboard 200. Their live performances feature mesmerizing visual displays with soulful songs of lyrics that provide love and wisdom in life. It’s hard not to have a mellow good time at the show. More information can be found at


Bone Thugs-N-Harmony:

An American hip-hop group from Cleveland, Ohio, rising to fame in the mid-90s. Rated as one of the biggest hip-hop groups of all time. They have worked with some of the biggest names in the genre including 2-Pac, The Notorious B.I.G, Easy-E, and Big Pun. They are graced with a quick and sung delivery, with a unique sense of melody. They have 10 studio albums, including The Art of War, and Eternal. Popular songs include “The Crossroads”, “1st of the Month”, and “Thuggish Ruggish Bone”. You can find out more about the group on their Facebook page.

The Movement:

Starting out in South Carolina, then later Philadelphia, and ultimately ending up in San Diego, they have established themselves as a leading alternative rock/ reggae band. They draw inspiration from Sublime, Slightly Stoopid, and 311. They have made a name for themselves for their unique sound that has a foundation of heavy drum and bass. Their 7th album “Ways of the World” debuted at #1 on the Billboard reggae charts, remaining in the top ten for 40 consecutive weeks. Popular songs by the band include “Take Me To The Ocean”, “Remember”, and “Break In the Glass”. The Movement was blessed during their set to a stunning Maryland sunset of oranges, purples, and reds during their set by the water. It felt like we were somewhere tropical with the warm muggy air and island vibes. When they played “Take Me to The Ocean” you could tell everyone in the crowd was feeling the same way, as their voices carried over the water to the boats in the bay. Locals sailing by could be seen dropping anchor to enjoy the sunset and tunes. You can find out more information, including tour dates here.

Collie Buddz:

Hailing from the island of Bermuda, Colin Patrick Harper aka Collie Buddz, is a known reggae dancehall artist. One of his first major gigs was with recording artist Shaggy working on his 2007 single “ Mad Mad World”. That same year Collie released his self-titled debut album. In 2011 he released his second album titled “Playback” followed by “Blue Dreamz” EP, and “Good Life”. Collie self-produced his last album “Hybrid” in 2019. Popular songs include “Love and Reggae”, “Smokin’ Love”, and “There I go”. Learn more about Collie Buddy.

Citizen Cope:

A innovative singer/songwriter whose musical style mix of blues, folk, and hip-hop, has earned him much success. Emerging out of Washington D.C in the late 90’s, Citizen Cope’s positive outlook and realism lyrics have made his music powerful. His most popular songs include “Let The Drummer Kick”, and “Sideways”.  He has worked with several artists including Carlos Santana, Dido, Pharoahe Monch, and Richie Havens. On June 30th, 2023, he released the song “The Victory March”. More information on Citizen Cope.

Damian Marley:

The youngest of the Marley sons, he was only two years old when his father passed, but music was already imprinted in his DNA. When he was 13 years old Damian formed his first band, The Shepherds. In 1996 he released his first album, “Mr. Marley”. His musical style is described as dancehall meets hip hop. His 2001 album “Halfway Tree” earned a Grammy nomination. In 2005 “Welcome to Jamrock” was released. The single reached the top ten, and eventually the album won a Best Reggae Album Grammy award.  In 2017 the album “Stony Hill” was released.  Popular songs include “Welcome to Jamrock”, “Road to Zion”, and “Make it Burn”. Information about Damian.



A tribute band to the legendary Sublime, Badfish continues to channel the inner spirit of Sublime by replicating their essence bringing their own unique performance. Hailing out of Rhode Island, the group formed in 2001 and began playing at local colleges. They quickly branched out to playing at colleges and bars all over the country. Gaining a loyal fanbase through the years, they soon began to play Nationally and at festivals. In 2008 the band was nominated for best tribute act in the Boston Music Awards. Fans could be heard singing along emphatically at the festival. Popular songs include “Badfish”, “Wrong Way”, and “Doin’ Time”. More about Badfish here.

The Expendables:

Reggae, ska, rock, and surfing influenced this rock band from Santa Cruz, California. The band formed in 1997. In their 25-year career they have formed a unique sound that was born from their laid back beach life. After numerous years of touring, the band plans to become more self-sufficient and rely on themselves in producing their unique sound. These days they are all about that “island vibe” versus the more punk and metal sound when they were younger. Their most recent albums released include Sand in the Sky in 2015, Moment EP in 2017, and Pleasure Point in 2023. Some popular songs include “Living in a Brighter Day”, “Surfman Cometh”, and “Sippin on Something”. You can find more information here.

Michel Franti and Spearhead:

Franti established himself in the 80’s singing about love, community, and social consciousness. His music has a mix of soul, folk, hip hop, R&B, rock, and reggae. Franti used Spearhead to deliver his own desire for change into a more positive musical force, producing albums such as “Stay Human” in 2001, “Everyone Deserves Music” in 2003, and “All the People” in 2016. His charisma and ability to bring people together brought much positivity to his act. A fan favorite at the festival, Franti’s positive messages and upbeat music had everyone on their feet dancing. Some popular songs by Franti include, “Say Hey (I Love You)”, “Life is Better With You”, and “I Got You”. More information can be found here.


Hailing from Isla Vista, California, Iration is a fusion of reggae, dub, and rock music. While its members originally came from Hawaii, they launched the band’s career in Isla Vista which became a hit on the college circuit. They rose to prominence on the festival circuit in the 2000’s. In 2006 they released the New Roots EP, 2007 they released No Time For Rest, 2008 Sample This, 2015 Hotting Up, 2016 Double Up, 2018 was the Self-Titled album release. Their most recent record “Coastin” is about being thankful for the moments that we have. These Hawaiian bred musicians have a natural love for island sounds and the “aloha spirit”. Some popular songs include, “Time Bomb”, “Summer Nights”, and “Falling”. You can find more information at


Formed in Santa Barbara, California, Rebelution was built from a group of college students with diverse musical backgrounds in 2004. The group began playing local shows and with a sound that fuses pop-tinged reggae and rock, they quickly set themselves apart from other musical acts at the time. Their first album was released in 2006, a self-titled EP. In 2007, they released their first full length album “Courage to Grow”. This album reached #4 on the Billboard top reggae albums chart. In 2009 they released “Bright Side of Life”. It reached #1 on the Billboard top reggae albums chart. In 2012 they release “Peace of Mind”. In 2014, they released “Count Me In”, 2016 “Falling Into Place”, 2018 “Free Rein”, and 2020 “The Dub Collection” In 2021 they released “in the Moment”. This album debuted at #2 on the Billboard reggae albums chart. Popular songs by the band include “Lay My Claim”, “Fade Away”, and “Roots Reggae Music”. More information can be found here.




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