CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine — Sugarloaf’s Bud Light Reggae Festival, the annual spring party that brings thousands of visitors to the mountains of Maine, returns April 16-19 with 11 different bands including Canadian reggae star Jah Cutta, Boston-based band Westbound Train, and Darryl Jenifer.
Jah Cutta, the Montreal-based roots-reggae star, will headline the festival’s Saturday night show in the King Pine Room, while Westbound Train will headline Friday night’s show. The annual weekend-long festival features indoor music stages in the King Pine Room and the Widowmaker Lounge and outdoor performances on the newly redesigned Beach in front of the Base Lodge. All outdoor music is free and open to all ages.
The annual springtime festival got its start at Sugarloaf in 1988 as a way to celebrate the changing of seasons and enjoy the deep snow, warm sun, and spring skiing. Since that time the festival has grown into one of the most popular spring parties in ski country, drawing 10,000 or more reggae and spring skiing fans each year.
Jah Cutta, renowned throughout the reggae world for his traditional roots-reggae style and his ferocious live performances, has been hailed as “Canada’s Top Reggae Act” by the Canadian Reggae Music Association and has shared the stage with many of the biggest names in reggae music, including Buju Banton, Toots and the Maytals, Peter Tosh, The Wailers and Beenie Man.
Jah Cutta’s latest full-length album, “Whagwan,” was released in March 2007. Jah Cutta will headline the Saturday night show in the King Pine Room, along with Rebel Fire, a New York-based band featuring roots reggae with politically inspired lyrics and eloquent songwriting.
Headlining Friday night’s show in the King Pine Room will be Westbound Train, a seven-part Boston-based band featuring modern reggae and ska music. Westbound Train has toured throughout the United States and Europe since its inception in 2001 and has shared stages with big names like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Rancid. Westbound Train will also appear outdoors on the Beach on April 18.
Also on Friday night, the Widowmaker Lounge will feature the world premier of Jenifer, the famed bassist from Bad Brains, a group that defined the hardcore reggae scene and became an inspiration to numerous hip hop and hardcore bands, including the Beastie Boys.
Appearing at Sugarloaf throughout the weekend will be Maine-based bands EastWave Radio and Stream Reggae, as well as The Cool & Deadly, Big Takeover, Kabbalist, The Royal Hammer, and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. The Widowmaker will also feature DJs John Lee, Yellow Fever and Punani Soundsystem.
Sugarloaf offers a number of different ticket options for shows throughout the weekend. For $40, guests can purchase a “Good Vibes” pass that guarantees admission to both the Friday and Saturday night King Pine Room shows. The Good Vibes pass is the only ticket that can be purchased in advance of the festival.
Individual tickets for the Friday and Saturday night shows will be available for $25 on the day of the show only. Widowmaker Lounge upgrades will be available for $10 each night as space permits.
All King Pine Room and Widowmaker Lounge shows are 21-and-older only and proper ID is required. All outdoor shows on Saturday and Sunday are free and open to all ages. No outside alcohol may be brought into the venue, and all bags and coolers are subject to search.
Ski-and-stay packages are still available for Reggae Weekend starting as low as $99 per person per night and include lodging, lift ticket and access to the Sugarloaf Sports and Fitness Center.
For information on Sugarloaf, the Bud Light Reggae Festival and scheduled bands, visit www.sugarloaf.com.