For the last 25 years, Ya Maka My Weekend has been a tradition in The District of downtown Rock Island. This festival celebrates the culture of the Caribbean. It is known for its colorful atmosphere, delicious foods, and lively reggae music. This year, the celebration takes place on the third weekend of August, scheduled for the 19th at 5: 00 P.M until 12:30 A.M and on the 20th 3:00 P.M until 12:30 A.M.

Ya Maka My Weekend will be held on the Great River Plaza, 2nd Avenue between 18th street to 1st and 3rd avenue, in downtown Rock Island, IL. Admission is $9 for a one-day pass and $14 for a two-day. Group discounts are available in advance. Children 12 and under are free and no pets are allowed on the festival grounds.

Caribbean food options will be available including jerk chicken, curry goat, jerk ribs, beef patties, and more. The aroma will drift from the leaves of the palm trees to the live reggae music being performed from two different stages, to the merchandise booths that provide crafts and other items.

While enjoying a refreshing beverage attendees are welcomed to vibe along with the many reggae performers including Papa Michigan, Anthem, Kool Johnny Kool, and many more.

kool johnny koolKool Johnny Kool: Kool Johnny Kool, born in St. Catherine, Jamaica and raised in Kingston, delivers an intense vibe through dancehall and cultural reggae music. His name is derived from his calm, cool and collected demeanor, but when he steps on stage he has a different level of energy. His command of the stage is mesmerizing.  Kool Johnny Kool has toured with Dubtonic Kru, who performed at Ya Maka My Weekend in 2015.

anthemAnthem prefers a crossover approach to reggae. The Connecticut outfit has been greatly influenced by urban contemporary, pop, and adult contemporary, but some type of Caribbean influence usually asserts itself, and even though Anthem doesn’t have a firm all-reggae-all-the-time policy, it’s safe to say that reggae (albeit crossover reggae) is their primary focus.

Anthem has appeared along with Sister Carol on The Conan O’Brien Show, and shared the stage with Third World, Jimmy Cliff, Big Mountain, The Wailers, Burning Spear, Black Uhuru, The Neville Bros, The Temptations, Freddy Jackson, George Benson, The Isley Brothers, Buju Banton, and many more.

Papa Michigan: Papa Michigan, now a solo artist, was one part of the legendary dancehall reggae duo Michigan & Smiley who were involved in the late 1970’s first wave of dancehall. Now as a solo artist, Papa Michigan continues to be a trailblazer. As an approach to stay relevant, Michigan is taking on a unique fusion of hip hop flavor, blended with his native sound.

Below is a complete stage schedule for the event:

FRIDAY
August 19th

Plaza Stage                                                                         Jumer’s Casino & Hotel Stage
5:30 – 7:00 Firesale                                                          6:30 – 8:00 Az One
7:45 – 9:15 Jumbies                                                           8:45 – 10:15 Kool Johnny Kool
10:00 – 11:15 Indika                                                          11:00 – 12:30 Yard Squad
11:30 – 12:30 Indika

SATURDAY
August 20th

Plaza Stage                                                                                  Jumer’s Casino & Hotel Stage
3:30 – 4:30 Az One                                                                     4:30 – 5:30 Jumbies
5:00– 6:00 Az One                                                                      6:00 – 7:00 Jumbies
6:45 – 7:45 Kofi James & New Roots Band                            7:15 – 8:15    Jumbies
8:15 – 9:15 Kofi James & New Roots Band                           9:00 – 10:30 Papa Michigan
10:00 – 11:15   DiMachine                                                            11:00 – 12:30   Anthem
11:30 – 12:30   DiMachine

The sponsors are what makes this event possible. Three sponsors are celebrating 25 years with Ya Maka My Weekend this year: Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, Dispatch-Argus, and WHBF.

The festival would not be able to celebrate 25 years this year without the help from all of the sponsors including: QuadCities.com, Dphilms, Holiday Inn Rock Island, Guitar Center, Hi-Nee Huts, River Cities’ Reader, B&B Drain Tech, Rexroat Sound, Locals Love Us, Block Hahn Builders, 101.3 KISS FM, ALT 104.5, Earthworks Nursey and Design Inc, Sedona Technologies.

For more information call (309) 788-6311 or visit www.yamakamyweekend.com and www.ridistrict.com.

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written almost 30 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.