The new Fyah on the Water festival took place at Camp Pollock on April 18-19, 2015 with a pretty darn good run with few hitches. Every festival has its challenges and some are easily overcome while others may become fest killers. Producers, Scott Durst and Jay Smith, also creators/producers of the annual Reggae in the Hills, have no intention of letting little hitches become the death of their dreams. At the end of the weekend, they were very pleased and proud of their new baby and its first big step.
Fyah on the Water is a festival designed to attract a variety of people that love music with 2015 being a predominant focus on Reggae and Rap. The mix of genres, for many, is not unusual and numerous musicians step into these two and multiple other genres in the music they play and create. Eric Endo, lead guitarist/dub for The Roosters who performed with Saturday headliner Marlon Asher, states that he actually started in Rap which took him into Reggae and that they have long been closely tied genres. Many Reggae artists step into both worlds and blend the lines so that, for some, there is no absolute distinguishable line separating the styles of music. Not everyone agrees; but, that isn’t really the point when it comes to pleasing the greatest number of fans. Some music festival lovers won’t like a particular lineup and will stay away, as with any fest in any genre in any place around the world. Its all about what the creators want to focus on as well as what draws the most fans in any particular region.
Sacramento has a strong music culture with clubs featuring live music almost every night. There are also several Reggae festivals that take place annually in the Sacramento County region and nearby. With the Rap and Reggae lineup blend, Fyah on the Water takes a somewhat different approach and may include even more genres in the future. The 2015 lineup actually embraced a variety with Contemporary Reggae, elements of Jazz and R&B, humorous Rap, and very popular California rappers that draw big crowds.
Depending on who you attended with, partied with, celebrated the music with or worked with at the Fyah on the Water festival, there were many favorites throughout the fest from the music to the food and venue. Following are some of the noted top seven bests (out of many more) according to those who had a good time and look forward to more.
Food! We all look for fun and delicious food at festivals and fairs. It’s a must for many that we have something to eat that adds to the sense of celebration, holiday and good times. The success of a festival is often strongly tied to the food that is available and this aspect of the program is not always easy to organize. With no absolute way to now exactly how many festival guests will arrive, too many food vendors can make it difficult for the vendors to meet their expenses even though its easier for the patrons. Its a tricky part of any festival to plan in a way that pleases everyone. While, according to some attendees, Fyah on the Water could have used a few more food choices, the ones that were onsite offered a great selection of deliciousness from pizza to Mexian fare, smoothies and BBQ. A huge thumbs up goes to the Wing King for not only their yummy wings but their consistent smiles from the entire crew. Way to go guys! Wing King offered not only a variety of flavors in chicken wings but also pig wings which turned out to be pieces of pork on small bones fried crisp on the outside with tender meat inside. For the non pork eaters, the chicken wings were also to die for and other food vendors offered some vegetarian options.
Music festivals are about the art of sound and live performances. Festivals that decide to include other arts like the visual arts and dancing can be considered more comprehensive of the arts in general. From the appearance of the appreciative views and comments being given to the multiple live painters at the Fyah on the Water festival, the patrons appreciated a broad range of the arts beyond music and love to see talent at work. Thumbs up to the live painters who compliment the music, enhance the celebration of the arts, and create awesome images.
All music festivals are about the lineup and what you like or don’t like. That’s why people attend. However, there is something as equally important to people who come through that gate. The PEOPLE and their attitudes. Are they happy and smiling and kind? Are they sharing their sense of fun? Are they respectful to others? Do they keep the venue clean? Fyah on the Water patrons would overall give a nod and say, YES! Of course, realistically there will always be trouble makers or haters but they certainly weren’t ruling the show at the first annual Fyah on the Water.
A variety of Rap and Reggae
Because this festival was a multi-genre celebration with a predominance of Reggae and Rap, its a good sign that a good variety of both was provided. The artists who appeared were also well loved in the region and some guests stated they came from several hours away just to see Kottonmouth Kings, RBL Posse and other rappers. Others are constant fans of Tribal Seeds, Arden Parks Roots and other Reggae bands. Some people stated they came out because they are fans of Reggae in the Hills (original Durst and Smith fest) which takes place annually at Angels Camp in Calaveras County, CA.
Musicians who give the bliss
Musicians who love what they do are the best to experience. When someone puts their heart into their actions and intent, magic happens. The Rooster are a complete group of such musicians and they played with headliner Marlon Asher on Saturday evening. Brandon Niznik (see photo) demonstrates the Bliss that so many fans want to share in. Love is a living energy that makes the vibration of the music enhanced to the max. Way to go Brandon, you rock as always with The Roosters and Marlon Asher.
Dynamic performers give it their all
There is nothing better than a dynamic performer. Junior Toots kills it every time he gets on stage. He is energetic, dynamic and brings along dancers, other artists and sometimes a flagman to give it a double punch of good stuff. Live performances are what music festivals are all about. The energy of the big stage interaction, artists who give to the crowd, and good sound and lighting (like Fyah on the Water had) make an outdoor festival sing with energy, color, and life.
Volunteers make the fest go round
Volunteers truly do make the festival go round. Without their service, most festivals wouldn’t exist. Most of them do their job with good nature and commitment. They are there because they love the music and the atmosphere. Thumbs up to all the volunteers who worked at Fyah on the Water. You made the weekend a blast while keeping everything together. From security to food prep, hospitality and gate keeping to ticket sales you kept the festival full of smiles and order.