A Global Gathering on the Caribbean Sea
Written by Melody Hayhurst
The fourth annual “Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise” departed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 13th, 2017 uniting individuals from all over the globe, enticing them with five days of incredible live performances, DJs, and an energetic vibe.
Destined for ports in both Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, Jamaica, the five-day cruise settled in and set sail on Royal Caribbean’s freedom-class “Independence of the Seas” for the second year in a row.
With over 4,000 reggae loving passengers and artists onboard, the ship, chartered by Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, offers a musical journey and festival experience like no other. With cabins sold out over six months in advance, the “Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise” has created an exclusive experience that continues to get better with each passing year.
Representing over 50 different countries, cruisers—better known to each other as Jamrockers— come from all over the globe to partake in the top notch, nonstop line-up of live performances and the incredible, around-the-clock array of DJs and sound systems. This year’s cruise included live performances by Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, Stephen “Ragga” Marley, Sizzla, Jah Cure, Luciano, Big Youth, The Big Ship Crew (Ft. Freddie McGregor, Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor, and Chino McGregor), Bounty Killer, Tarrus Riley, Cocoa Tea, Busy Signal, Popcaan, Cham, Inner Circle, Richie Spice, Tanto Metro and Devontae, Pressure, Spice, Raging Fyah, and Iba MaHr.
These musicians were joined by several surprise guests, DJs and artists who came together at many different venues on the ship and at many unscheduled times throughout the week to create a number of impromptu collaborations, performances, and Reasoning sessions*.
The brainchild of Damian “Jr Gong” Marley and his management team, the “Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise” has created an unbeatable reggae experience on the highs seas. Bob Marley’s youngest son is not only an incredibly skilled lyricist, but he is also an extremely sharp businessman who has spent the better part of the past five years building up networks and teams across many platforms—particularly in the emerging legal cannabusiness industries in both Colorado and California.
September 2016 saw the opening of his Stony Hill dispensary in Denver, Colorado, followed by a big announcement in California the month following as Marley revealed that he had purchased a former correctional facility in Coalinga to cultivate medical cannabis alongside partners Ocean Grown Extracts. In June of 2017, it was announced that Marley’s growing company, Stony Hill Corp., along with other investors, had acquired a majority share of High Times Magazine.
According to its website, Stony Hill Corp, is. “a diversified company focused on multiple areas of the cannabis, hemp and CBD industry. Stony Hill is focused on select investment, branding, real estate, and partnership opportunities in the recreational, health and wellness, nutraceutical, and media industries.” The company announced the debut of its own line of CBD-infused products in October of 2017 with online distribution happening now and plans to distribute via retailers and dispensaries currently in the works.
Marley’s “potrepreneurial” endeavors are expanding the Marley name and legacy far
beyond the world of music. We can only hope to see more collaborative and international
projects involving his musical and cannabis related activities in the future.
For now, Jamrockers can continue to enjoy the one of a kind, once in a lifetime experience found pon di boat. Having attended this event since its inception, this writer still finds it hard to put into words the energy and vibes that are present each year on this voyage. What is certain, is that the “Welcome to Jamrock Cruise” has created a global family and the strong sense of unity—or inity– oneness and love amongst its attendees. The energy and irie vibes are unbeatable, keeping Jamrockers coming back for more each year.
Many returners and former patrons will tell you that they had the best time of their lives on this journey. This writer had countless conversations with people who came back year after year all for the same reasons: the incredible love of music uniting people from all over the globe, the sense of family and unity amongst Jamrockers, and the magical, electric energy onboard that is unparalleled. Third time Jamrocker, Karilily McClure, summed up the feeling best, “52 Nations of people, all ages, all smiles, all love, all dancing under the stars and floating in the Caribbean Sea. [It] truly restored my faith in humanity to spend a week with so many upful people!”
“Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise” will again set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 1, 2018 for its fifth Anniversary voyage. Cabins are already sold out, but you can get a head start on 2019’s cruise!
*Reasoning Sessions: According to the BBC, “Rastafari doesn’t have a specific religious building that is set aside for worship. Rastafarians usually meet weekly, either in a believer’s home or in a community centre. The meetings are referred to as Reasoning sessions. They provide a time for chants, prayers and singing, and for communal issues to be discussed. [Cannabis] may be smoked to produce heightened spiritual states.”
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