May 27, 2007

The Reggae Block Dance: Piccolo Spoleto

I have been to the Reggae Block Dance a few times in the past, but I had not been in the last three years. I was determined to go this year. As it usually is, it was at the Customs House. It was hosted this year by Osei Chandler and featured African drumming, dance and reggae music by the Dis n Dat Band and Grammy Award nominee PATO BANTON.

I wanted to be sure that I did not have to stand so I left West Ashley around 5:30 as I knew that there would be no parking to be found. I drove around in circles for a very long time trying to find just one single parking meter open. NONE! I finally parked in the small lot on Market Street. I took my daughter with me and we walked on down through the throng of people to the Customs House. When we arrived there was still plenty of open steps left at The Customs House. We went almost to the top so that we were just about eye level with the stage. It was a beautiful night and the wind off the water was just heavenly. I would say we got there around 6:15 so we had quite a while to sit. The place began to fill up fast.

The wind was picking up and thank goodness I wore long sleeves or I would have been a little cool. With that said my nose began to run and since I had changed purses to match my outfit I did not have all my normal things with me. I had no Kleenex with me. So I dispatched my daughter off to the closest vendor who was to the right of us under the white tent in the picture above to get me three napkins for my nose.

I could tell when she asked that one of black women manning the booth was not going to give her the napkins. Her neck and body posture said it all and she was talking, talking talking with my child just standing there. I mean, it does not take but a second to say here is a napkin and give it to her. After about a minute of her standing there, I saw another lady at the booth hand my daughters napkins and she came back to me. I asked her what happened and she said the first old biddy (and that is me being nice) was all over her saying that the napkins were for customers and that she could not have them and when my daughter said okay and turned to leave, the one who was doing all the talking told the other lady at the booth to give my daughter the three napkins. As my daughter left, this same woman told her that she had better not see her buying food from any other vendor but her that night.

Can you believe that? I was all ready to march back down there and give her a piece of mind and give her back some snotty napkins. I said no....I was not going to let this woman's bad attitude spoil my evening. She had just lost two customers. We had not eaten any dinner and we had been thinking of buying food from that booth. They were close to where we were sitting. Needless to say we went hungry that evening. On the way home we stopped at Wendy's and got a burger.

The evening began with the African drumming and it was fun. There was a lot of audience participation with people going up on stage. Of course there was one wild and crazy guy in the front who was dancing all over, wildly as if he had no cares in the world. There is always one like that. He was over the top with the dancing. Very entertaining and I guess some of us were secretly wishing we could be that free and wild in public.

The next performers were the Dis N Dat Band. I had not heard of them before. They were pretty good! Here they are.

The act that followed this was a young man who attends The School of the Arts: Daniel Davis. He played a mean violin. He was absolutely out of this world with the talent and skill that he displayed. He played "popular" hip hop/vocal songs from current artists. He was excellent!

Finally the main event: Pato Banton. He was wonderful as well. I was thinking of trying to make it over to his booth to buy a CD but the crowds were just overwhelming by that time. I would just have to get it late on line.

I decided to leave before the show was over. I wanted to try to beat the crowds. We left about 10:25 pm which gave us just enough lead time to get out of the lot and get home. The Reggae Block Dance was great and of course it is one of the free events. You can't beat that. If you missed it this year, plan to attend next year. You won't be disappointed. Who can be disappointed with cool breezes and rhythmic reggae music to dance in the streets to? It was a night for reggae magic!
It is not the paper mill! It is pluff mud!

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