Taj Weekes and Adowa Perform at Kalamazoo Island Festival


Excerpt of article by: Lori Holcomb

This weekend, the islands are closer than you think

Cool breezes, spirited drinks and easy-going rhythms – welcome to the islands, mon.

So, it’s not exactly the Caribbean, but for those who can’t afford the plane ticket, this weekend’s Kalamazoo Island Fest is the next best thing.

The 14th annual festival, which starts today and runs through Saturday at Arcadia Creek Festival Place, has become the largest celebration of Caribbean culture in Michigan, according to festival director Wayne Deering of the Kalamazoo-based events planning company Events Inc.

“From the food to the drinks and the music, everything about the islands spells fun,” Deering said. He estimated that about 20,000 people attended last year’s two-day festival, which is why he decided to extend the event to three days this year.

This year’s musical lineup will feature 14 acts, including Culture, Zareb, Taj Weeks and Adowa – all of which hail from the Caribbean, as well as Pato Banton, Dread 1 Sound System and the local band, Zion Lion.

“I call it the happiest weekend in Kalamazoo,” he said. “… It’s just the vibe of the festival. Everyone dances and smiles and has a good time.”


Excerpt of article by: John Liberty

Despite the forecast, ‘it always shines’ for Island Festival

Paul Toth, an organizer of the 14th annual Island Festival along with Wayne Deering, doesn’t really care what meteorologists have to say about this weekend’s weather. “It always shines for the Island Festival,” Toth said.

Island Festival celebrates Caribbean culture through food, clothing, jewelry, live music, drinks and more. It will start at 11 a.m. Thursday and continue through Saturday at the Arcadia Creek Festival Place.

The annual event has drawn about 5,000 people daily on Fridays and Saturdays in recent years, prompting organizers to add a third day this year. “Given the popularity of the festival, it was a natural outgrowth,” Toth said.

Here are some of the festival highlights:

  • British reggae artist Pato Banton will perform, 10 to 11:30 p.m. Friday.
  • St. Lucia-born reggae artist Taj Weekes and his band Adowa will perform, 8 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday.