Two-time Grammy-Winner Shaggy to Headline Florida Jerk Festival

South Florida’s Caribbean community will have plenty of reasons to celebrate this Fourth of July Independence Day, as the day also marks the return of the Florida Jerk Festival, formerly known as the Palm Beach Jerk Festival. Before the fireworks are lit, there will be plenty of fire taking place on stage at the South Florida Fairgrounds, home of the festival. Two-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Shaggy will headline the return of the longtime music festival for its 2021 run. The Kingston, Jamaica-born Shaggy has released 14 studio albums and has two number one hits with “Angel” and “It Wasn’t Me,” both of which topped the Billboard Hot 100.

Shaggy – Photo: Rick Munroe MFN

The Florida Jerk Festival will be the first post-pandemic Caribbean festival in Florida, welcoming five-time Soca Monarch winner singer/songwriter Skinny Fabulous, who will no doubt deliver the powerful island vibes to those in attendance. The Trinidadian born Gamal “Skinny Fabulous” Doyle made headlines in 2019 with his Soca anthem “Famalay,” a song featuring Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez and Machel Montano; he brings to light the love and the unity of the Caribbean. In addition, the festival also welcomes reggae mega-talented quartet L.U.S.T., who will bring  plenty of Irie vibes to the Jerk Festival stage. L.U.S.T. consists of dancehall singer and deejay Lukie D, singer/songwrite Thriller U, reggae vocalist Singing Melody & dancehall vocalist Tony Curtis.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic halted last year’s festivities, and festival-goers have been anxiously awaiting the return of music festivals and outdoor events. The long-running festival has traditionally taken place on Memorial Day and is now being held on Independence Day; whether this change is permanent remains to be seen. It appears that the festival organizers were quite busy during the break, giving them a chance to reboot the entire festival with a complete rebrand of the annual well-attended event. After 16 years as the Palm Beach Jerk Festival, a name change now reflects the entire state of Florida, home to the largest Caribbean community in the U.S., including nearly a million residents in South Florida alone.

The new user-friendly website is a huge upgrade from its previous version, providing clear information on both the Palm Beach and Orlando festivals and also serves as host to a huge recipe repository that offers visitors plenty of tasty Caribbean dish recipes for those who wish to make these island inspired dishes at home. The Orlando edition of the Florida Jerk Festival takes place later this year on Sunday, October 17.

This family-friendly festival celebrates the rich history of the Caribbean that is comprised of 13 independent nations and several territories that all share the two common passions among the Caribbean community: music and food. The annual jerk chicken competition is a cooking contest that takes place each year among local vendors who will each battle for the coveted Florida Jerk Festival Jerk Competition trophy awarded by a select panel of judges.

The “Jerk Experience” is an option for those who wish to indulge with a sampling of more than ten Jerk-seasoned bites prepared by various featured South Florida restauranteurs. The Kids Zone will be the place for the youngsters to have fun with plenty of activities including a Ferris wheel, Round Up, Tornado, a bounce house, face-painting, mechanical bull-riding, and rock-climbing. According to the website, there is a charge for these activities.

“We are excited that this year’s Jerk Experience will be bigger and better than ever,” says Damian Tater, CEO of Florida Jerk Festival. “The Jerk Experience has always been a major component in The Florida Jerk Festival branding. Where else can lovers of all things jerk come together and enjoy unlimited samples of all things jerk? From chicken to ice cream, we have a little something for everyone.”

 

Spicy Grilled Jerk Chicken with Lime and Spices – Photo courtesy of Florida Jerk Festival

 

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