In January, Melissa and Hank Hyatt vacationed in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The Virginia-based couple fell in love with the culture so much that they journeyed to Washington, DC for the third staging of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival on Sunday. After indulging in scrumptious plates of ripe plantains, oxtail, and curried chicken, the duo was ready to take in the anticipated performance from vintage group Third World.
Like the Hyatts, the hundreds of patrons at the RFK Stadium Festival lawn were not disappointed, as the band delivered a riveting performance taking their fans on a 45-year musical journey. With AJ Brown on lead vocals, the group that was formed in 1973 treated the patrons to selections from their impressive catalogue, which included hits such as: Sense of Purpose, 96 Degrees, Now that we’ve found love, and Try Jah Love.
The patrons, consisting mostly of Caribbean nationals, appeared to be in a musical trance as they kept their eyes glued to the stage as the band hurled hits after hits. Following Third World’s captivating set was Bajan soca queen Alison Hinds. The entertainer gave a first-class performance which will remain fresh in the minds of those who witnessed it for some time to come. She had them gyrating, jumping, and waving to soca hits like Pull Up; Ride me Riddim, and Roll it Gal. She even invited a few men from the audience to ‘take a wine’ with her.
Dancehall artiste Elephant Man, later delivered his usual electrifying and energetic set. Earlier in the day, reggae band New Kingston also rocked the crowd with an impressive performance.
While the crowd enjoyed the live entertainment, the children were having their own fun over at the kiddies village. They frolicked around, taking part in numerous activities, but stopping at regular intervals to feast on delicious jerked treats offered by the booths.
“This is different but tasty,” said eight-year-old Chloe Parker, who was eating jerked oxtail for the first time.
Like the live performances, the adults also had a craving for the mouth-watering jerked dishes available. Among the most sought-after were Boston’s succulent jerked pork and chicken; jerked lamb and seafood were also in high demand.
The Gleaner caught up with Derrick Reckord, CEO of Grace USA, who said that the Jerk Festival has once again lived up to expectation.
“The execution was well done. Today’s staging has been tremendous. We got a full house and this year, thankfully, the sky is overcast so persons were not attacked by the heat. Everyone is having a great time and we look forward to another spectacular staging,” he said.
Similar sentiments were echoed by festival organiser Eddy Edwards who said that the patrons were left extremely satisfied.
The third annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival DC is sponsored by Grace Foods, Shoppers Food, VP Records, Guinness, Giant Foods, and Ablazin Radio.