TORONTO, CANADA (Top40 Charts/ RBC/ Harbourfront Centre Officical Website) - Harbourfront Centre becomes a vibrant haven of Island Soul over the July 31 to August 3rd long weekend. A killer Calypso double-bill features world renowned artist and former Calypso Monarch winner The Mighty Shadow opening the festival Friday evening with the heat and flavour of the islands. Opening for Shadow is fellow legendary Calypsonian and alto-sax player Roy Cape and the Kaiso All Stars.
With a Reggae career spanning over two decades and 10 albums, Tony Rebel commands the stage on Sunday. Rebel is also well-known for running the Rebel Salute festival in Jamaica. Rebel is the chair of Artists Against Aids ? a UNICEF Jamaica initiative he has spearheaded since the early 2000s. Hardcore Band featuring Anthony Davis aka globalcentric-poet Peculiar I and his friends open the concert. Jamaican-Canadian (and once Toronto resident) Leroy Sibbles, who many know as the lead singer of The Heptones, and one of the major players in the Studio One Rocksteady era of the 60s, takes to the stage. Trombone-led Ska group The Arsenals begin the evening.
Dominica's oldest and most accomplished band, Swinging Stars are in the weekend line-up celebrating their 50th anniversary. Other musical offerings over the weekend include the dulcet tones of the Pan Fantasy Steelband and the Silhouettes Steel Orchestra. Carib-Latin Jazzers Kalabash perform. DJ's from SuperheavyREGGAE warm up an evening and CIUT's DJ Patrick Roots and CHRY's DJ Natty B go head to head in a track-by-track showdown.
On Saturday, August 1, celebrate independence with the first officially recognized (by the Province of Ontario) Emancipation Daywith an Emancipation Jubilation event hosted by B. George Blake. He is assisted by the Kalalu Folklore Theatre and many special guests (in partnership with the Ontario Black History Society.) The island of St. Lucia also gets a freedom spotlight when they celebrate the 30th Anniversary of their independence. Former MTV Live host and Comedian Gilson Lubin hosts the musical celebration event.
Dance fans will enjoy the colourful Tche Kreyol dancers from Martinique and Aya Dance Collective perform their work, "Origins," merging African and Caribbean cultures. Formed to mark the Quao victory over the British in Jamaica, The Charles Town Maroons drum and dance their stories. Rated X for Xcitement entertain crowds in the round and the Caliente Drum and Danz light up the evening with an interactive glowstick dance performance. Those inspired to dance can join in with the Caribbean Dance Lesson with Anthony 'Prime' Guerra.
The Jerk Jamboree Competition promises to be an intense competition where chefs from restaurants all over Toronto compete for the Best Jerk in Toronto. Online voting is already underway at Harbourfrontcentre.com and is open until July 15. The winner will be on hand on August 2 at Harbourfront Centre.
Foodies can also get their fix by watching food demonstrations by Anthony Mair of Harlem Restauraunt, La-toya Fagon of Twist Catering Services and Selwyn Richards from The Art of Catering.
Family fun highlights include rhyme & rhythm workshops, and a Steel Pan Workshop led by one of Toronto's best Joy Lapps. The Djollification: Kids Jump Up is the perfect pint-sized Calypso event that closes the festival.