Date: Saturday, July 30th 2011
Line up: Iration, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Euforquestra, Tatanka & more.
Location: Poudre River Reggae Fest @ Mishawaka Amphitheatre, Bellvue, CO.
It began as a winding drive through the Poudre Canyon 23 miles above Fort Collins, in the city of Bellvue, Colorado. Being Colorado natives, and having heard an endless amount of positive things about Mishawaka Amphitheatre, otherwise known as “The Mish”, Chad and I knew an epic night of great vibes was just around the next sharp curve. The Poudre River Reggae Festival (PRRF) was riding high in it’s 7th year in existence with a lineup including, but not limited to, Iration, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, The Wailers, Euforquestra, Tatanka, and DubSkin. We left our tents, hopped on the shuttle, and headed back down the canyon from above the amphitheatre, picking up fellow campers, drinking cold beers and sharing our excitement for the evening ahead.
We approached the venue just as Denver’s own Tatanka had started their set. Upon entering, the realization was obvious that Mishawaka would more than live up to it’s hype and is indeed the perfect setting for a reggae festival such as PRRF. Tatanka’s electro-reggae rhythms echoed off the surrounding canyon from the stage, backed by the picturesque Poudre River as they played their new crowd favorite “Not Important”. Tatanka also debut their newest hit “Parachutes” in which these electronic/dub bad asses blended their rhythm of “Parachutes” to the song “Clint Eastwood” by The Gorillas. They closed the night with the song “Warp Speed” which took the crowd on a psychedelic 11 minute ride that left faces melted and feet dirty.
DJ Uplifter filled the air with roots music in between sets and kept the party going. Up next was Euforquestra from Iowa City who graced us with an amazing performance of equal parts reggae and jam. Their cover of Barrington Levy’s Black Roses had everyone at The Mish on their feet as the sun sank on the mountain ridge just behind the pine log stage.
Upon darkness falling in the mountain skies, DubSkin hit the stage next. The crowd was swaying with Dubskin’s 8-9 minute song “African”. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad followed and played an eclectic blend of reggae and soul music. These guys are a must see! Their records are fun to listen to, but their live performance is outta this world!
This perfect night of reggae deep in the Rocky Mountains was topped off with the sounds of Iration. It’s obvious that Iration is moving along in the right direction as their fans a.k.a. “Irators” packed the venue for the last act of the night. Hits like “Time Bomb” and their newest single “Summer Nights” got the crowd swaying back and forth, and for a moment, it felt as if Iration brought everyone with them back to Hawaii, and gave the evening a moment to never forget. Percussionist/vocalist, Kai Rediske sang “Get Back To Me” and got the crowd singing the chorus back in unison. Closing the night, Iration pulled an old favorite out of the bag and played “Cookie Jar”.
Surely, this was one of the greatest reggae shows we have ever been to. We shuffled on out the doors and shuttled back to the campgrounds. The music still lingered in our heads as well as the hopes of returning to an 8th Annual Poudre River Reggae Festival next year.
– Article by: Kyle Hillje & Chad Hillje
– Photos by: Kit Chalberg
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