It was a vibe on Saturday when 20,000 people united at the Tauranga Domain to listen to the sweet sounds of our top reggae artists.
A favourite for many was the return of Nesian Mystik, who performed for the first time in almost a decade.
They performed some of their top hits including It’s On, Nesian Style, and Sun Goes Down. It brought back memories for most in the audience who grew up listening to their hits.
Vocalist Te Awanui Reeder, also known as Awa, says the festival suited them because they love performing for Nesian fans from Te Moananui-ā-Kiwa.
“There’s nothing better than seeing a crowd of brown faces looking back at you and singing the kupu, singing the songs, dancing and all of these things that are uniquely Māori and Pacific - That’s why we love it.”
Sean Paul, all the way from Jamaica, was another highlight who had every one of their feet dancing along to his top hits including Temperature, Like Glue and Baby Boy. His dancers also brought another element of “fire” to the stage.
Organiser Pato Alvarez was clearly pleased with the performance since Paul was one of the hardest acts to confirm.
“It literally took me three years to have him here. I flew to Jamaica three years ago to try to get him and get a deal and we met up I didn't happen and I kept chasing and chasing and he finally came on through.”
Another highlight was Ria Hall performing at her first major event since the birth of her son.
During the performance, she sang her new song Owner. She says the lyrics are inspired by the fight for first peoples’ rights.
“Indigenous people all over the world are battling the Western world; that's the essence of my new song, she says.
"All indigenous people throughout the world should stand independently."
As expected, Katchafire’s performance was on form! They had everyone singing along to the Love Letter, Irie and Seriously.
Maisey Rika’s spinetingling vocals set a beautiful āhua in the afternoon, especially with her fusion of English and te reo Māori lyrics.
Common Kings, Victor J Sefo, Sprawnbreezie, Third World, Ardijah, Lion Rezz, Etana and Josh Wawa also got the crowd in the mood, leading into the evening.