Reggaefest Roars into Sugarloaf

Comments by Dan Brown/

The annual spring lion, Reggaefest roared into Sugarloaf this past weekend, hosting eleven performers over four days. In it’s 22nd year, this hybrid of music & spring skiing is the premiere festival of the East Coast resort party scene and one that has had skiers & riders coming back to every year as the ski season winds down.

This year, I was fortunate to check out the festival in its 2nd night of performances on Friday, where I caught energetic sets from DJ Kompost, Mystic Bowie, the Royal Hammer and headliners, Inner Circle while the ever changing & characteristically finicky New England weather blew through with a late season snow storm, which would dump 8+ inches of fresh snow for festival goers to enjoy by the following morning.

Despite the unseasonable cold and at times, damp, weather, Friday’s music started with DJ Kompost providing beats at Bullwinkle’s, Sugarloaf’s on mountain restaurant. From there, the aprés crowd was delighted by the sounds of the Jamaican born artist Mystic Bowie at the Widowmaker Lounge. Wintry Mix be damned, the Reggaefest was heating up and people were sending it right from the get go.

With a lull between sets, the Sugarloaf staff was hard at work setting up the King Pine Room for the headliners Inner Circle, the New Kingston, Jamaica band responsible for Billboard Hot 100 hits like “Bad Boys,” the COPS theme and “Sweat (A La La La Long)” while the Portland, ME band, Royal Hammer, packed in at the Widowmaker. As the crowd began to pour back into the Sugarloaf base lodge for the night’s events, The Royal Hammer went through their sound check, hornplayer and newcomer to Reggaefest, Ryan Zoidis remarked that he was excited to be a part of the festival. “I’ve heard it rages…” And to that, the crowd didn’t disappoint.

At 10:00, both bands began their set, giving the crowd the option of the smaller venue of the Widowmaker to hear The Royal Hammer or the larger King Pine room for Inner Circle. To each, the crowd was treated to a great performance. Inner Circle played a nonstop, thrilling set, included their hit Bad Boys which received a roar from the crowd in addition to an amazing encore of “One Love.” After, the crowd made its way up to the Widowmaker to catch the second half of the Royal Hammer set, filling the bar and partying hard for the remainder of the performance.

With the night concluded, the crowd dispersed and the bands breaking down set, Sugarloaf said goodnight on Day 2 of the Reggaefest with fresh snow waiting in the morning.