Carlos Coba was sitting on the grass in a big open area, surrounded by trees and people dancing, singing and laughing. Those are the good memories of last year’s Miami Reggae Festival with his friends, mashed together in the masses of people waiting for their favorite reggae band to appear on stage.
"I was excited," said Coba. "It’s a very positive type of music, and I have always loved the experiences I have had here."
Coba has attended the Miami Reggae Festival for two years now. He got involved in the event initially looking for a fun day out with his friends in Miami, but once he heard about their diverse set of performers and their cause, he was immediately intrigued.
"I got involved [with the event] for two reasons: the music and the cause, the latter being the most important, even though my first attraction to last year’s event was the band, Cultura Profetica," said Coba. "But it’s different this time around."
Now, Coba will take part in the festival again this Saturday.
He is planning to go with friends and will take two canned food items for the fourth annual Miami Reggae Festival at Peacock Park.
All the proceeds from donations will be distributed to the TECHO organization and their fight to eradicate poverty in the slums in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Coconut grove food donations will be distributed by the Coconut Grove CDC at Elizabeth Virrick Park and Liberty City food donations will be distributed by Curley’s House at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center by volunteers in both locations from noon until 5 p.m. on Nov. 24.
The Miami Reggae Festival is a project of the Rockers Movement, which has been dedicated to enabling change and power in the community for 15 years.
Alfonso Brooks, founder of the Rockers Movement, has been involved with the organization’s operations since its inception.
"People make us a movement. Without people, we’re just an idea," said Brooks. "There is diversity in the food, the arts and raising awareness. It’s not a party scene, it’s an initiative to bring the change we can."
Every year at the end of November, people come out and donate to the cause. Last year, about 8,000 people attended the event and donated two tons of food. This year, Brooks is hoping for 13,000 people to attend and donations of five tons of food for a more diverse Thanksgiving feast for people who are down on their luck.
The festival will be open to the public at 10 a.m. kicking off with yoga in the park followed by educational workshops and 10 musical performances by different reggae artists from around the world until 11 p.m.
A minimum of two canned and/or non-perishable food donations are accepted for free admittance to the festival until 3 p.m. Admission tickets afterward are $45, VIP tickets are $75 and include access to a VIP lounge with a private bathroom and children 12 and younger are free when accompanied by a paid parent.