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Soaking up the sunny vibes at the Reggae Garden
9:20am Monday 10th September 2012 in News
REGGAE beats echoed around the Old Town Bowl at the weekend as hundreds enjoyed the traditional Jamaican music, spicy food and similar tropical climate.
The Reggae Garden, which took place at The Bell Hotel last year, moved to the picturesque venue in Old Town for its second birthday on Saturday and organisers, visitors and acts deemed it a huge success.
Veteran star and headline act Tippa Irie treated fans to a live-wire set and performances from UK reggae star YT and Terrorist Nuclear went down a storm with the crowd. The acts were backed by the Birmingham-based Friendly Fire Band, fronted by Lion Art and Tomlin Mystic.
Swindon’s very own Hotsteppers Dancers also performed fresh from their success at auditions for Sky One show Got To Dance.
The event was organised by Paul Bullimore, owner of Amber Audio, which provides sound for concerts at the bowl, and reggae and hip-hop artist AJ Mayhew.
Paul said: “The vibe of the event has been so nice and we were so lucky with the weather, it’s amazing.
“We sold more than 500 tickets in advance but earlier in the week we weren’t even dreaming of that so it has been brilliant and we are all so buzzing about the line-up.
“Because it’s a ticketed event, it is mainly big reggae fans that come through the gates but we have also had a lot of people that just enjoy the Bowl as a venue, and I think it is incredible – it’s the jewel in Swindon’s crown. It has also been really nice to get people through the gates that don’t normally come here, or haven’t been here for 10 years or more.
“If everything goes well, we would like to make it an annual event and come back next year.”
AJ, who performed during the event, was delighted with the turn-out.
“The vibe is what we wanted, the venue looks how we wanted, it’s brilliant,” he said.
“We are bringing reggae music to a new audience, and we want it to be for the whole family – it’s suitable for grandchildren to their grandparents and you can’t say that about many music genres.”
Adding to the atmosphere and filling the Bowl with Caribbean spices was Zara McDonald who was serving up traditional cuisine including jerk chicken, rice and peas and curried goat for the crowds.
She said: “It’s a great event that brings all ages and all races together and that’s what it’s all about.”
Reggae music lovers Mickey T, wife Tina and son Ritchie, 18, of Park South , were basking in the sun.
Mickey said: “I’ve been a big reggae music fan for 40 years. It is positive vibes, positive music and it is just so uplifting. It’s a great event.”
Charlotte Ward, 20, from Park South, went along with her mum Michelle, 39, and said she was most looking forward to watching AJ perform.
“We saw AJ at SN1 Fest and I saw him at Bushwackers, I think he’s great,” she said.
Michelle said: “We saw the event advertised and we are big music fans. We were hoping it would be a nice day, and it is, so we thought ‘why not come along?’.”