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Live Review: Reggae Rise Up 2024 @ West Covington Port, Baltimore, Md. — 6/21-6/23/24

Where to even begin. Let’s start with the heat. It was an unbearable weekend in Baltimore with heat indexes over 100 degrees. But even so, fans poured into the port on each day with refillable water bottles, fans, and everything else under the blazing sun to stay cool, ready for a weekend of amazing music just a few days ago. Highlighting local bands and large scale acts, Reggae Rise Up had a stacked line up of a good 70% of my favorite bands. 

West Covington Port hosted Reggae Rise Up 2024 over June 21, 22, and 23. Day one started with locals Higher Education, and ended with west coast based Iration. I was honestly so excited for both sets, especially after missing Iration’s set last year. On the coolest night of the festival, everyone was dancing and singing along to just about every band there. One of the highlights of the day, Ohio-based Tropidelic absolutely killed their set, and got the energy pumping through the crowd, gearing them up for the night ahead. 

Day two boasted my favorite local band, and good friends of mine, The Harbor Boys, opening up the festival with an energetic and upbeat set that really outlined the tone for the whole day. Despite being the opening band (and maybe my own bias), they had one of the best sets of the day, with the early-comers all dancing in the heat and singing along to the songs. For me personally, it was great to see how much they’ve grown and just how many people came out on full support of them and another, more-well known, local band Ballyhoo!. These two bands recently finished a tour together, and you can easily see their friendship and camaraderie in every interaction. 

Stream “Sunday Hangover” by The Harbor Boys and Ballyhoo! on Spotify:

Ballyhoo! was probably the second most attended set of the day, with all of the local east coast reggae music scene showing up to catch the set. Playing well-known favorites like “Social Drinker” and the very apt “Maryland Summer,” everyone managed to brave the heat to go dance for Day 2’s hometown heroes. 

Second to last for the the night with probably the biggest name of the line-up, was Shaggy. While it was an amazing set with most of his biggest hits, it was probably also the most disappointing as he was cut off without being to play his closing song, the infamous “It Wasn’t Me” due to going over time. While completely understandable on the festival’s part, it was a disappointing blow to the fans, many of whom ran towards the stage as he got the first verse out before leaving the stage. 

Day three boasted our other hometown heroes, Bumpin Uglies, and another personal favorite of mine, Fortunate Youth, along with Florida-based Kash’d Out and The Roots to close out the festival itself. 

Overall, despite the heat, it was an amazing weekend. With many friends, a lot of drinks (thanks to the beer festival that they included this year), and an incredible line-up for each day, I really hope to be able to see this festival grow, and I’m looking forward to hopefully coming back next year!

See some photos from the festival below!