KOLOA — Aston Barrett Jr. just returned to Florida from a Wailers reunion tour in Brazil, but the reggae musician is gearing up for another show and said he’s looking forward to a little love from Kauai.
“The reunion tour was wicked; some of the original guys were there,“ Barrett said. “And on Kauai, it’ll be peace, unity and aloha. It’s going to be good.”
Barrett is one of the artists coming together for the second “Reggae for Life” music festival at CJM Stables today. He’s part of the band Reggae Force, a relatively new group, comprised of roots musician veterans Junior Jazz, Peter “Pan” Williamson, Barrett, and Alaina Reed. They’re wrapping up their first full album, “Unincorporated.”
He decided to join Reggae Force as a way to branch out from his work with his father Aston “Family Man” Barrett and the Wailers. Barrett Sr. played with Bob Marley and the Wailers until Marley died in 1981. He and Barrett Jr. still work with the band.
“Once my father retires, than they want me to take over the Wailers, but I want something separately as well,” Barrett said. “When I met Alaina she said she always wanted a band, so I said alright, let’s find a keyboard and a singer.”
Barrett said they found Junior Jazz for their vocalist and they started to record. The band will be debuting a few of the tracks today.
Joining Reggae Force on the stage will be Kauai’s Mel Bel Grey and the homegrown roots band Revival, as well as Maui’s Marty Dread, who will be celebrating his birthday the same day.
Marty Dread has 17 albums and has recently been touring with Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. He’s looking forward to a Hawaiian show.
“It’s been a huge blessing for me because these guys have welcomed me into their lives and their careers,” Marty Dread said. “I’ve been more of a touring musician recently, though, and I want to reestablish with my people.”
The man behind the festival is Phillip “Angel” White, who put together this year’s event, along with Mana Moon Productions. A percentage of the festival’s proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society, cancer research projects at the University of Hawaii, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The event will also have prize drawings, a beer garden, and food vendors.
The festival begins at 3 p.m. with a rodeo at the stables in Koloa. And once the cowboy competition wraps up, the live music begins.
Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the gate and $70 for VIP access, and are available at flavorus.com