When: Fri., Aug. 12 2011
How do you hook an Irish boy from Cleveland on reggae? Send him on a rain-soaked camping trip with nothing but Rastaman Vibration for entertainment. "I was mesmerized by Bob Marley!" Packy Malley chuckles, and more than a quarter-century later, the spell still envelops him. The infectious reggae spirit eventually moved Mally to launch a live music festival. Twenty years later, the annual Mid West Reggae Fest, returning at 1 p.m. Friday to the 250-acre Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, has become one of the nation's longest-running romps of its kind. This weekend's lineup includes locals, legends, and some of Jamaica's hottest contemporary artists, like Bushman (pictured, right), all spreading the gospel of love, unity, and equality. The impact on the crowd is obvious. "In 20 years we haven't had so much as a fist fight," Malley marvels. "Everyone is filled with such respect." Show your respect by snagging a three-day pass for $95, including all 18 acts plus camping and swimming; other ticket packages are available too. Get 'em online or at the gate, where only cash will be accepted. Besides the music, Malley says the swimming is great, mon: Bring your bathing suit and your dancing shoes. — Elaine T. Cicora 12001 State Route 282, Garrettsville, 440-333-2075, midwestreggaefest.com.