Photo (above) by Corey Hamilton
TMRW.TDAY is a unique gathering of mindful reggae lovers. The cultural fest has a touch of house, a toe-pinch of white sand beach, a mouthful of flavorful fruits, a breeze filled with tropic scents, and island lifestyle for the retreat of a lifetime, and plenty of reggae to sooth your soul.
As an American who had never been to Jamaica before, it took a few days to reset my urgent internal clock, from a rapid walk to a soulful stride, more closely matching the graceful rhythm of the waves.
With early morning 8am, (yes this was ‘crack of the dawn early’ or the coffee shop is still closed early), Meditation the day started with a gentle stretch of the body and mind. The venue was a 5-minute walk from where I stayed, so just an easy stroll on the beach and I was on “festival grounds”. The meditation on the beach was enhanced with some live instrumentation for stress elevation.
The Irie Soul Beach Wellness Program has a plentiful schedule of meditation (starting at 8am) and various yoga classes throughout the day. Clear-minded people flow off the mat and into the mingling area. Friendships created from the chance occurrences at Chances on the Beach.
With fruit drinks, a full bar and some local food, everyone is well nourished and in a good mood.
The pace of ‘island time’ is a phenomenon not unique to Jamaica.
The tides map the hours of most businesses and the music fills the void.
The event schedules tended to begin at least 30 minutes late, which made it easy to be early.
The live headlining acts command control of the 11pm-2am time frame.
The newly enacted Jamaican law requires a permit to host events at night and promoters must obey the Noise Abatement Act. “… permission is given to have an event up to 12 midnight during the week and 2:00 a.m. on weekends… These laws are to protect the patrons that are coming to your events. Organizers must take into consideration the safety and security of the patrons. We (JCF) want the patrons to be safe,” – Head of the JCF’s Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay (Jamaican Government).
Naturally, music pushes the limits.
Tmrw.Tday is run on island time and is designed for relaxation. With built in “just chill mon” times from 9am-4pm followed by a drum circle session from 4pm-7pm, one is never rushed. Plenty of time for livin, chillin, and being. A dive into the tropical jungle. A dip into the calm ocean. A soak on the white-sand beach.
The pace of the island is ⅔’s time, a slow wandering stroll’s beat.
The energy of the island comes from the sun during the day and from the people at night.
Looking back on the festival…
Tmrw.Tday was simple yet diverse. Easy to navigate yet spread out. The variety of venues and attendees made the whole thing a pleasant experience. We are excited for what the future of this Culture Festival has in the works. First-year festivals are by definition an experiment, a new test and there are many unknowns to be worked out along the way. With the first year
Don’t worry, we covered the music from Tmrw.Tday as well! Music from Jamaica and Tmrw.Tday Festival
Impressions from the Jamaican Culture:
[quote] A morning went a little something like this:
I stroll to the beachside restaurant. Get out my pen, notebook, & order:
“A Jamrock omelet, coffee & water, please”
The rain yields for the time being to a cloudy haze that blends the ocean’s horizon into the sky.
The temperature is ripe.
The humidity is lively.
The pulse of the island is coming into light.
From the crickets of the night to the dancing paintings and carvings on the wall, music runs through them all.
The soulful melodies spill forth, almost involuntarily, from the locals.
Is everyone a natural vocalist?
The small businesses thrive in Jamaica and the markets are vibrant with people and goods. One person employment can be seen from the seven-mile beach.
One beach hustler’s day
A man carries coconuts, straws, and a hatchet. “Coconuts…” he says, as he walks along the beach trying to make eye contact with any and all tourists. He takes 5-7 steps. “Coconuts…” he repeats, as he is now 1o-15 feet further down the beach. He knows the limitation of his voice’s range and he is competing, after all, with other people and the ocean. Again 5-7 steps. Finally, “Coconut Mon….” for the last 1/3 of his vocal cadence. The three-part vocal loop seems to serve as advertising, a pace setter, a marching beat, and reassurance that he is actually getting somewhere on the 7-mile beach. If you are sitting on the beach you will probably hear the loop twice as he passes. What is that rule 7 for advertising again? Oh ya, that people buy after they hear about your product several times. When business is good, a quick walk inland and a new harvest can be acquired. When the sun gets low the day is done.
Each step is one closer to a new sale. “Co-conut”… “Coco-nut”… “Coconut Mon”…
“There are around 500 beach hustlers” – Paul (beach hustler)
There is an ever-changing flow of people, tourists, and travelers who soak up the island tropical sun.
Friendly entrepreneurs selling a story with their product or service. Friendly people so jolly that a word is worth it.
The smooth trotting pink-hatted horse riding salesman, slowly making his moves. Everyone is hustling their products and services
Later that day, the pink-hatted beach horse salesman scored a lady tourist for the ride of a life. He washes the young rider with vocal melodies and song. With gentle guidance and a quick step, the man leads the lady and horse along the water’s edge. (The legend himself can be seen in background of the picture – see left)
Creativity in approach, service, products & storytelling is on full display. Rude guests foil high hopes.
Clearly, the Jamaican culture benefits from tourism, festivals, the cross-cultural exchange of ideas. Jamaica continues to attract creative minded people to the lush jungles and white sand beaches, to enjoy a brief visit to paradise.
We covered the music from Tmrw.Tday as well! Read and take a listen here: Music from Jamaica and Tmrw.Tday Festival