Dance In Traffic

First annual music festival brings reggae masters to a new venue

By Liz Dzuro

Published: Monday, August 31, 2009

Updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Singer Ojay Smith of local band The Resolvers performs at City Limits in Delray Beach on Jan. 30, 2009. The band’s reggae-style music that’s mixed with various other genres — including rock, jazz and hip-hop — brings a large crowd to their regular spots, like Kahuna Bar and Grill in Deerfield Beach. Because of their local support, the band was voted for in DubFest’s Open Slot Contest and won a spot to play in the show.

The punk and ska sounds from Goldfinger have been around since the mid ’90s, but their music is heard mostly through video games and movies. They have seven different songs featured in a total of seven video games, like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games, and five movies, like their cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” in Not Another Teen Movie and Eurotrip. The band is back on the road to promote their newest release, Hello Destiny, after a major record label change.

The California-based Reel Big Fish come to the South Florida area once again. The six-piece ska band seems to play shows in this area almost annually, and they still draw a crowd of dancing teenagers every time. They also visited FAU in fall 2007 for the Rock the Owl concert, where they opened for Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

Jamming out to the mellow grooves of reggae while enjoying a beautiful South Florida day is one way to escape the stress of school and work. It might even make you forget that you’re in the middle of an intersection in busy downtown Hollywood.

DubFest 2009 is an all-day concert taking place on Sept. 5. AEG Live, who’s hosting the event, boasts 14 bands on two stages, a crafts fair, skateboard ramps and much more to take place in a glorified traffic circle.

The newly renovated Hollywood ArtsPark is located at Hollywood Blvd. and U.S. 1. The round 10-acre space, a third of the size of Miami’s Bicentennial Park, is the spot where DubFest will be held.

Jesse Stoll, AEG Live operations coordinator, says he expects 5,000 to 10,000 people to attend and thinks that Hollywood ArtsPark is the perfect location for the first of what he hopes to be a recurring festival.

“The beautiful renovations [to the park] over the past couple years, including the dancing waterfalls [and] the musical Baobab trees, lend a serene and hip atmosphere to the event,” says Stoll.

The impressive lineup scheduled for DubFest has music legends Bunny Wailer and Lee “Scratch” Perry booked as the main acts. The newest addition to the event will be local reggae band The Resolvers, who won DubFest’s Open Slot Contest. The contest took place online through the official DubFest Web site, where fans voted in a number of rounds for their favorite local band. 

The Resolvers are five guys who play reggae-style music but with inspiration from rock, jazz and hip-hop. Their fan base includes many FAU students because some band members are alumni or are still attending the university for music degrees. Guitarist Ron Eisner has graduated, while bassist Steave Nieratka and front-of-house engineer Mark Ortenzo are still students.

“We’re stoked about winning the spot for DubFest. It shows that we have fans that care and would go to great lengths for us,” says Eisner.

And they should be excited: According to Stoll, Bunny Wailer, a man who once shared the stage with the late and great Bob Marley, is making his only appearance in the United States at this concert.

“This is a real treat for reggae fans who’ve been dying to see him for years, as he rarely makes any appearances or [performances],” says Stoll.

“Bunny is the last survivor of the Wailers! Lee Perry basically single-handedly invented dub music! So when it comes to being deep-rooted in reggae, it doesn’t get much deeper than this,” says Eisner.

But the event won’t peak with these three acts. The day is filled with reggae and ska sounds from Reel Big Fish (who came to FAU in fall 2007 for the Rock the Owl concert), Goldfinger, Sublime tribute band Badfish, Scotty Don’t, Authority Zero and many more.

“I’ve been listening to Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish for, like, 10 years now and I just love live music in general, so a whole day of it is always fun,” says senior marketing major Danny Gootner, who’s a regular to festival concerts like Langerado and Bonnaroo.

And there’s more going on than just the music. The park will also have a skate demonstration from the skateboard teams of Island Water Sports and Grind for Life, an interactive area where organizations will promote “green” awareness, and if it gets too hot there’s a water fountain playground to cool off in.

Even struggling students will be able to get together the money to enjoy a Saturday full of events. Tickets are only $35 in advance and $40 the day of the show. That’s like getting to see the skate show and all 14 bands for under $3 each — which will save the rest of your dough for a sweet T-shirt or two.

Wed 9/30/2009 12:09 PM