Genres collide at Soca+
On the weekend, partygoers from all walks of life congregated under a cloudy Kingston sky for the first staging of the Soca+ Festival, an evolution of the I Love Soca Cooler Fete.
Though usually touted as a soca party for Jamaica's high-brow audience, Soca+ patrons said that that misconception should be debunked.
"Soca is for everybody! Uptown, downtown, round town. You coulda fat, slim, big, small, nuhbady nah judge you! Just wine and gwaan. A nuh soca, is soca plus!" said Jermaine Scott, who had travelled from Manchester to attend the two-night festival.
Scott, who has been attending the I Love Soca party series since 2015, praised the team for legitimising the other genres of music that have always been enjoyed at the fete, but never acknowledged.
"For as long as I can remember dem always play all type a music. So you know you a go hear your Flairy and your other dancing chune dem, and you affi have a 'badman' section and 2 o'clock inna the mawning dem affi play the 'white girl' song dem. So this has always been 'soca plus'. Mi just glad seh dem a acknowledge it now," he said.
Soca+ boasted a line-up of more than 10 DJs from across the Caribbean, playing music from the soca, dancehall, reggae, hip hop, house and electronic genres. There were also guest performances including from Voice the Artist, Bounty Killer, Skinny Fabulous, Laa Lee and Chi Ching Ching.
Even as Tropical Storm Ian threatened day two of the event, partygoers showed no hesitation to fill the venue along the waterfront.
While by all accounts the staging was a success, there were murmurs of a hopeful location change for future stagings.
"I hate that it's downtown," one patron said. "Why we pay all this money and still have to pay a next $400 for parking? Dem need fi move it go somewhere else 'cause this not working."
Counteracting her friend's comment, one patron who gave her name as Shelly-Ann said, "Mi glad it deh downtown cause me just live right desso and as it done, bloops! A me dat reach home."