This Memorial Day weekend, UCLA kicked off its 22nd annual Jazz/Reggae Festival featuring well-known artists The Roots, Goapele, and Stephen Marley. The two day event, held on UCLA’s intramural field, attracted a large and diverse crowd while emphasizing an environmental friendly and socially sustainable atmosphere through the festival’s “go green” ideas.

According to Diaris Alexander, UCLA student and co-marketing director of the Jazz/Reggae Festival, the two performance stages were bio diesel and solar powered, using one main power source for the festival’s generators. Many of the festival’s vendor booths contained environmental friendly ideas and solutions designed to inform the attendees. Also, environmental tips scrolled across the concert screen between performances.

The two day event began Sunday, May 25 with Jam Day, the jazz component of the festival.

Vendors booths lined the edges of the field selling everything from traditional African clothing, authentic African instruments, sculptures, and jewelry, to Bob Marley memorabilia and Barack Obama keepsakes. The entire right side of the field was flooded with Caribbean and southern food.

The live jazz band performances included Dr. Lonnie Smith and John Densmore of the Doors with Tribal Jazz. Sherlet Sabal, a regular of the Jazz/Reggae Festival who brought along her husband and little girl said, “I enjoy the Jazz festival more than the Reggae festival…..it’s good for relaxing with the family.”

The festival’s Memorial Day celebration attracted more of a younger crowd that didn’t miss a beat for the chance to sing and dance to the mainstream Reggae music. Although the vendors and food were the same, the second day concert goers were somewhat different. Sister locks, Rastafarian dreads, or earthy Afro-centric like, bohemian styles were a familiar sight on Reggae day. Many of the attendees boldly sported the red, green, and black Reggae colors, while Trinidadians, Jamaicans, and Belizeans proudly waved their native flags in the air during shout-outs from the Concert’s M.C. Pattye Patterson, a UCLA alumni, “The Reggae show is always better than the jazz festival….it’s more people and better artists.”

Whether one preferred a laid-back or a high energy atmosphere, the Jazz & Reggae Festival delivered!