Music, Food & Fun Vibes At This Weekend’s Reggae Fest

The Chesapeake Bay Reggae Fest is happening this Saturday and Sunday, May 14-15 at Mill Point Park in Hampton, Va.  I chatted with Chesapeake Bay Reggae Fest’s Co-Founder Kevin Purnell about this year’s event!

  • Q: Annaka Chesnutt, FOX 43
  • A: Kevin Purnell, Co-Founder,  Chesapeake Bay Reggae Fest 

How did the festival get started?

Several people from the community got together and we thought it’d be a great idea to have a reggae festival at Buckroe Beach. We started doing fundraisers once a month and had a free concert there in 2010 that was a huge success and has evolved since then. 

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Tell me about the featured performer, Kevin Isaacs and his showcase 

Kevin Isaacs is actually the son of the legendary, Gregory Isaacs, who is probably one of the top 3 roots-reggae artists in history.  His [Kevin Isaacs’] father passed away and he’s following in his dad’s footsteps. Having toured in Europe and a few other countries, this is his is his first time coming to the United States, where he will perform a tribute to his father.

You also have a group that worked with Bob Marley coming?

It’s a group called, ‘The Meditations.’ They haven’t put music out for a while, but these guys have so many albums and sang back-up on Bob Marley’s ‘Punky Reggae Party,’ and actually toured with him as well! We are definitely excited to have this legendary group from the 70’s performing this weekend.

What kind of food and drinks will be there?

We’ll have all types of Caribbean food out there… 4 or 5 Caribbean food vendors actually. We will have a coconut guy serving fresh-cut coconuts on site with a big straw in it so you get that island effect. There will be jerk chicken and seafood, smoothies, alcohol etc. all types of stuff!

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Are there any other features you can elaborate on?

We try and bring the whole Caribbean vibe out there with decorations and overall enery. We want people to feel like they are truly having the full reggae experience.  It’s a very family friendly event with artists, crafts and face painting as well. 

The whole reason we started this festival was because we all have kids, and are all into reggae because it’s very positive. The message of reggae has always been peace and love so, we wanted our kids to experience positive music and people! The people make the fest… there’s always great people that come out here. 

How would you describe the overall vibe for the weekend?

I think it’s a family vibe with friendly people and a very diverse crowd. This area is a mixed crowd so we are excited to represent the whole community 

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