Two-day festival Reggae Sunsplash culminated yesterday after another delayed start, but organisers did, at least, rid the fragmented stream delivery that disrupted the event experience on Friday.
Night Two was dedicated to the fresh faces of the festival, and Agent Sasco and Romain Virgo were standouts.
Sasco established the virtual festival house rules, advising patrons to make use of the fire, hand and dog emojis for his opening number Mix Up. The 4000-strong audience complied as the deejay spat rapid flows, clad in his go-to jogging suit look. Fire emojis reigned in his performance of Fade Away (which features Romain Virgo), and the artiste requested some real flame effects from show producers as he got into his 2018 hit Banks of the Hope. At this point, hearts, diamonds, bombs, prayer hands, trophies, speakers and quite frankly the whole emoji keyboard was thrown into the chat. The deejay showed mastery of the virtual stage and asked patrons to switch things up by typing the letter “W” during his performance of Winning Right Now. His high-energy continued on tracks like Loco and a medley mix of songs including Anywhere We Go, Nothing At All and Almighty Protect Me.
Virgo had also performed his Sasco-collab in his earlier set, and received virtual torches just the same. One patron described Virgo as the “golden voice” of the Sunsplash stage, which proved true as he belted his soul on love ballads like Taking You Home, Love Doctor and Wanna Go Home.
Dressed to impress in a deep blue and white suit, the singer also got loose on stage, grooving and dancing with his background vocalists. The touching number, Dutty Man, set the virtual chat ablaze with fire emojis, with some patrons asking for an encore.
“I’m so happy to be on this platform right now, Reggae Sunsplash, to bring ‘cross a message like this to the world cause we need this in this time when our children are at home with no one to protect them,” he said.
The father of twins also performed Hero, and encouraged viewers to remain positive during this COVID-19 era in his performance of Who Feels it Knows it. His wife Elizabeth and singer Christopher Martin showed their support in the chat as he continued with vibrant deliveries of Leave People Business Alone (of which Martin is featured) and I Am Rich in Love.
The night’s starter, Jesse Royal, delivered an easy-flowing set which heightened with the upbeat number Jah Will See Us Through. Though released in 2017, the song’s message of hope resonates with the times, and his interpolation of Jimmy Cliff’s I Can See Clearly Now was icing on the cake. He also sang songs like Lion Order, Modern Day Judas, Natty Pablo and his Vybz Kartel-collab More Than You Receive.
The other act of the night was Masicka, but his performance mirrored the basic experience of an in-person concert. The “dash weh dat” ritual was alive and well, the cliché interludes about poverty and haters were abound, and “balance!” cues were occasionally given to the band. Nonetheless, the deejay has a catalogue that cannot be denied and got virtual *forwards” for tunes like Top Striker, Changes in Life, They Don’t Know and Image. Teasers of Hard Ball and Top Form could have at least made it to the second verse, but he did give a considerable performance for the inspirational number Stay Strong. The Genahsyde ladies weren’t neglected, and had their moment with 10 Outta 10, Blessing and Queen Inna Di Deck.
The night went to show-closer Dexta Daps, which was the case for Night One’s closing act Capleton. Other performers of the 2020 staging of the festival were Richie Spice, Tanya Stephens and Ras-I.