Rise Up, Stress Down

Reggae Rise Up was the best thing I didn’t know I needed. A few weeks ago, I packed up everything I owned and stuffed it all into a storage unit. The day after completing that very tedious task, I left for Okeechobee. Having no place to live, I avoided the real world and my stressful current situation for the six days I was at Chobee. The second I came back to real life, it smacked me in the face… no, it knocked me to the ground. After basically crying and eating my way through a midlife crisis during this all, I needed something to detox from all of that. Reggae Rise Up did just that.

I’m guilty of always having reservations about non-camping festivals. It’s a completely different vibe, and it’s not always good. That very quickly dissolved once a cute couple in beautiful costumes, with long dreads, playing with their flow toys accompanied me on the long walk from a parking lot to the festival. Immediately after scanning my wristband at the entrance, not even two steps into the festival grounds, I heard a “Hey Girl!” I turn around, and there is this girl I met at Okeechobee. There are not very many things in this world that make me happier than making new friends at a festival, and then continuously bumping into them at different places throughout life. So after that, I was in a pretty great mood. A solid two minutes later, an old co-worker and I happened to make eye contact at the perfect time and ran right to each other. The first five minutes of Reggae Rise Up were already filled with so much love and happiness, I knew that the rest of the weekend was going to be beautiful.

I decided to document five moments that made my Reggae Rise Up experience an absolute breath of fresh air:

The Art and Artists:

Artists were busy painting beautiful murals all weekend right along the water, and it was really cool to watch.

This Octopus:

He attracted a few DJs and flow artists.


I could barely see my camera through the tears.

This kid’s reaction to Matisyahu:

Ditto, dude.

This group of dads insisting on doing a photo shoot:

Lil cuties.

These little moments definitely put a smile on my face, and it was pretty fun to have my camera with me to capture them.

Other than EDC, this was my first genre-specific festival, and it was a really cool new experience. I always enjoy a reggae set here and there at different festivals, and it got me more and more interested into that type of music. RRU provided some of the best names in reggae, and I loved every second of each one. Matisyahu, Collie Buddz, Nahko & Medicine for the People, and SOJA were probably some of my favorites from the weekend. This was one of the most laid back festivals I’ve ever been to, and I think they found a new fan in me.

Thank you Reggae Rise Up for a great weekend, and I certainly am looking forward to next year *cough* bring Stick Figure back *cough*!

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