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NW Reggae Festival gets more worldly.

Byline: Serena Markstrom The Register-Guard

Unlike last year's dry, hot, dusty event in an open field without much shade, this year's Northwest World Reggae Festival will be staged in the lush, wooded, irrigated meadows of a Marcola area ranch.

The sloping hill in the performance area creates a natural amphitheater. And the audience faces west, offering the opportunity to see three sunsets behind the stage in addition to a weekend of music bearing messages of peace, hope and a spirit of community.

KRS-One, a longtime leader in the conscious hip-hop movement, told producer Joshua Stroud that the concept of bringing positive hip-hop and reggae together in one event is something he always had dreamed about.

"When KRS-One showed up, it was before dawn the day before his set," said Stroud, who booked much of the show through his business, Conscious Productions. "He walked up to the top of the hill and he said, 'Wow, this is like my vision I've been talking about for years.'

`He's been trying to create the hip-hop city - the place where music and art is a big part of the community and the culture, more than it is right now."

Last year, Stroud said people wondered what KRS-One was doing on the bill at a reggae festival. But now people are starting to catch on and see the connection.

Same message; different beat.

Also, calling it a world music festival means trying to incorporate more than just English-speakers into the lineup. This year, there's only one person singing in another language: Alika, a rapper from Argentina who will rhyme in Spanish on Sunday.

"It's going to be her debut performance in the Northwest," Stroud said. "Most of these artists are flying in directly just for this show. Only a couple are on tour right now.

`I don't know that there has ever been a reggae festival of this magnitude in Oregon."

The event features two days of camping. All vendors, food and otherwise, are certified organic. And, in keeping with many other local festivals, organizers are making every effort for this to be a "green" event.

On the event's Web site, organizers phrased the alcohol rule like this: "No public consumption of alcohol outside camping area."

The camping area is close enough to the stage (100 yards from the parking lot on 10 woodsy acres) that you can hear the music. There is a separate area for car camping, but these campers cannot move their vehicles until they leave the festival.

There will be an area in the parking lot reserved for recreational vehicles, but no sewer hookups are available, and water is available only in amounts to fill RV reservoirs.

Also, no dogs or open fires are allowed, only gas barbecues.

This is Stroud's third year helping to book the festival.

The festivals three co-founders asked Stroud to join in. The Portland-based producer has organized numerous reggae and hip-hop shows in Eugene.

Stroud made a point of booking Oregon acts, including Eugene-based More Time and D-Fault. In addition, local DJs Kal-el and Brimstone Sounds will spin tunes between the sets.

Presales for this year's event already have surpassed total ticket sales from 2006, said Stroud, who thinks the show could draw capacity crowds of 3,000.

"We're quite a bit ahead of schedule," he said. He attributed that to the location being closer to Eugene, rather than last year's site near Woodburn, and to the caliber of the acts.

Several big names, some of whom have been through Eugene in the past year, will perform. They include the Abyssinians, Prezident Brown, Pato Banton, Vince Black, Ky-Mani Marley, Admiral Tibet, Heavyweight Dub Champion and Dr. Israel.

Stroud called Bambu Station, from the Virgin Islands, an exciting band coming out of a thriving scene. He said it's fair to compare the reggae scene in the Virgin Islands now to Jamaica in the '60s.

"I'm tickled to death to see most of these guys," he said. "I've seen most everyone.

`I haven't seen Admiral Tibet or Ickarus. Most of them are my favorites."

You can call Serena Markstrom at 338-2371 or e-mail her at smarkstrom@guardnet.com.

CONCERT PREVIEW

Northwest World Reggae Festival

What: Reggae, hip-hop and world music

Who's playing: Today - Bambu Station, Ickarus, Heavyweight Dub Champion, Dr. Israel presents Dreadtone International, Scott Free, Don Dignitaries, Luminous Fog, Serious de Witness, Starliner, 7th Seal, Afro Omega; Saturday - Ky-Mani Marley, Luciano, Admiral Tibet, Mikey General, Mark Wonder, Rocker-T, Chezidek, Syndel, J. Ross-Parelli & Tulasi, Instigators, Paapa Wastik, Jaga, Uprite Dub Orchestra, D-Fault; Sunday - Abyssinians, Prezident Brown, Mutabaruka, Pato Banton, Vince Black, Andrew Diamond, Queen Ifrica, Alika, Ras Attitude, Jah Sun, Itawe, Massawa, Nuborn, More Time, Solid Foundation

Music starts: 3 p.m. today, 11 a.m. Saturday, noon Sunday

Where: A private ranch near Marcola, 20 miles northeast of Eugene

Tickets: Three-day pass with camping $110, Saturday-Sunday with camping $85, Sunday only $35, 14 and younger free

Parking: $10 with no re-entry, $20 short-term parking with $5 re-park fee; car camping $10, $50 for vehicles longer than 20 feet

On the Web: www.nwworldreggae.com
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; Hip-hop acts and foreign performers take to the stage near Marcola
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 10, 2007
Words:847
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