The best reggae festivals seem to take place in other parts of Europe and never in London. Maybe due to the homophobia that once strongly existed in the dancehall and reggae community which was often reflected in the lyrics.
Rototom is a festival which used to take place in Italy, but now takes place in Benicassim, Spain. The 2014 line up seemed very commercial, but it was sure to be good, regardless of who was performing.
Line up: Beenie Man, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Anthony B, Lauryn Hill, Junior Kelly and many more.
The person who I was looking forward to seeing the most was Chronixx who still hadn’t become so popular at the time, very reminiscent of Garnett Silk and despite only being on the planet for 22 years or so, he sure knows a lot and speaks the truth.
From Valencia, my friends and I got a train from Barcelona to Benicassim which took around two hours and cost around €50 return.
Many people who attend Rototom decide to camp. We tried it for one night and decided against it. We found it really cold at night time. Mainly because we hadn’t really prepared. We stayed in at Eco Avenida hotel which was about 20 minutes away from the concert grounds. It provided us with all the comforts we needed which included an outdoor pool and jacuzzi.
One of the acts I was mainly looking foward to seeing was Chronixx…who I’m besotted with! He was amazing. He has a very calm demeanor about him. From listening to his album and checking out his interviews. I knew as an artist he was definitely set for big things to come! Fast forward 4 years later; selling out Alexandra Palace and having a pop up shop in South London recently, proves that I wasn’t wrong!
Sean Paul and Beenie man were great. But Anthony B impressed me. Amazing energy and he got the crowd going!
This festival simply caters for everyone. There’s every cuisine going for sale on the festival grounds. You can also take part in a dancehall lesson on the beach, led by the Spanish Dancehall Queen herself.
She got some moves on her! Typically a lot of the European dancers go to learn in JA and bring the moves back with them!
More than anything, I enjoyed the Senegalese dancing and drumming. Even if it took place at 4am. The dancehall stage is great if you just want to heat some yard tunes, bruk out, skin out or do whatever they call it nowadays! Rodigan and Robbo Ranx are just a couple of DJs who were on the bill that week.
If you’re looking for a more peaceful approach, yoga and beach time will provide you with the tranquility you need….
You can also educate yourself with range of documentaries on show, during the day at Reggae University. I watched a documentary about the reggae movement in a Caribbean island called La Croix which was very insightful.
I have to say, I’ve been to many places. But this was one of the best weeks of my life. I was filled with tranquility.
If you want to stimulate yourself mentally, several talks take place during the day.
There was even a talk from a Tibetan monk who spoke of seeing his mother being killed by the Chinese, but due to his beliefs based on forgiveness, he simply had to forgive and let go. It really is enlightening.
The weather is great.
It’s also a great chance to catch all the artists you wouldn’t see all in one place for a mere 180 euros.
Lauryn Hill…closing act on last night. The crowd was heaving. I reckon most people came to see her. That night it was so full, you could barely move. Despite some sound technicalities, she was still delivered!
Romain Virgo. I didn’t know much of his material before. But he definitely won me over when he performed.
Come with friends, if not, you will sure meet some cool people on the way.