Rootfire at the Park came to Cocoa Beach on October 22nd, and it was absolutely wonderful. Everything was exactly what I hoped for. I took in everything they had to offer: good food for munchies, Beebs Boutique, hula hoops, tapestries, artist and festival merch, and much more. There was a steady breeze throughout the day from being near the water, making it a perfect day for a celebration of Reggae music. People were smiling, dancing, and just letting loose. After wandering around for a good while, it was time for the show to get started.
The performances took place on the Riverview stage and the Bowl stage. Each artist at the Riverview Stage had thirty-minute sets. Kevin Kinsella and Part One Tribe were the first two bands on; seeing them was a great way to start off the day. Both made the best of their time and made some new fans as well. Beebs came on for her thirty-minute set and performed a very enjoyable show. As a local, she played for fans both old and new. Her stage presence is known: Beebs loves to move around, dance, and smile throughout her set. She is a cute and quirky musician who is grateful for being able to share music with the world. With the access I was given, I chatted with her for a bit and can confirm that her onstage and offstage personas are the same. We shared a laugh and a hug and went on our ways.
Next up was Dustin Thomas, a one man band with the whole package. He raps, plays guitar, and beatboxes altogether. His songs tell stories, and he has a very positive outlook on life. I got the privilege to speak with him; he was very friendly and happy to be in Florida. Dustin was also the headliner of the Rootfire After Party later on that night.
I ran over to the Bowl stage for its first act of the day, a Rochester-based group with the heart and sound of a Reggae band out of Cali. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad proved you don’t have to come from the ocean to play this genre of music. They are a five-piece band known for their live shows and have been together for over ten years. After hearing their funky tunes, I headed back to the Riverfront stage and had a chance to check out The Holdup. They were fun, moved around a lot, and seemed genuinely happy to be there. Both guitarists were talented and shared an epic moment jamming together on their knees.
The Holdup’s set was cut a little short for me because I had to head back to the Bowl stage for Collie Buddz. His band was rockin’ before he came out to a roaring crowd. Collie Buddz is the epitome of a performer: the audience was going wild the whole time, and he was also very happy to be there. The Movement were in the midst of closing off the Riverfront stage and they had a huge crowd as well! Their drummer nailed the symbols with such emotion; the band’s passion was almost tangible. Shortly after his set, Collie Buddz hopped on stage with The Movement to perform “Habit,” one of their remixed hits, and everybody went nuts.
There were two shows left on the Bowl stage. Everybody slowly came together for Tribal Seeds and Iration. My expectations were high from all of the great things I’d heard about the bands. The lights hit, notes started playing from the speakers, and the excitement from the people was palpable. Tribal Seeds kicked ass. The show was absolutely phenomenal. I had seen more people wearing “Tribal Seeds Crew” shirts than any other artist, and I finally understood why: it was because of the production they put on. The lights, sound, vibes: it all clicked. There was a drum solo that hit in synchronization with the lights, and I found it impossible not to dance. Tribal Seeds ended up playing a fourteen song set. How do I remember? I got the setlist of course!
Next up was the headliner, Iration. A bunch of dudes from Hawaii who hail in Santa Barbara have an incredible fan base on the other side of the country, thousands of miles away from home. They had the crowd cheering, screaming, and singing along all night. Iration was the most pro-ganja band I’ve ever seen, blatantly referencing the Mary Jane culture, but people loved it and everybody was happy. They paid homage to Tom Petty with “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” before the encores, sang along with the packed crowd to “Time Bomb,” and ended the wonderful day with “Falling.” Cocoa Beach was very happy to have Iration and enjoyed the seventeen songs they played. How do I remember? I got that setlist, too! I was able to snag two and gave one to some eager fans. That’s what this is all about right? Everyone, including the performers, had an amazing time– I’d never been to a show with so many smiling artists. Most bands held meet and greets with fans, and a lot of the musicians wandered around the premises throughout the day, taking it all in. Rootfire, thank you for my favorite day of music I have ever had the chance to experience. Cocoa Beach and I hope you come back next year.
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Rootfire at the Park Live Review & Photos by Collen Pryor. Edited by Kristen Burns.
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