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Cathedral of rockers, mecca of reggae

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Over the past three decades, thousands of Bermudians have found their way through the doors of the BAA gymnasium.

Hundreds of live acts have been held within her walls; hundreds of “rub-a dub sessions” have been held under her roof.

The sweat of almost every Bermudian over the age of 40 has soaked into her wooden floors.

She has become Bermuda's “Grand Ole Opry” of reggae.

She has indeed become Bermuda's “Cathedral of Rockers”.

Pilgrimage

Her doors reopened Tuesday to welcome hundreds of her children for their annual pilgrimage to the mecca of reggae in Bermuda.

The Veterans In Action annual event this year featured veteran singers Leroy Gibbons and Tony Curtis.

Before they came on stage, the crowd of hundreds was primed by the wheels of steel of legendary DJ Jugglin' Jason. He had them eating out of his hands with tunes from the 60s to the 90s. So mesmerised were the masses that at one point it appeared as if Jugglin' Jason was the main act.

Prime time

Mixed by DJ Magic, of Souljah One, and DJ Donnie, of Three the Hard Way, Leroy Gibbons took to the stage and redefined what stage presence and crowd participation are truly meant to be. Agile, and interactive with his audience, he seduced the saints to sing in chorus with him for his entire set.

The crescendo of this vocal communion was one of the all-time reggae spirituals The Book of Rules.

Such was the audience's love for him that after a 30-minute performance of his own hits and other reggae standards, they demanded that he return to the stage to deliver encore performances twice in a row.

For that moment in time, he indeed became the pope of the Cathedral of Rockers.

VIA

Two of Bermuda's leading reggae promoters joined forces about five years ago to produce Veterans In Action. This series specialises in putting on events featuring veteran reggae performers and veteran local DJs.

Over the past few years, they have built a loyal following of thousands of Bermudians of every age, creed and ethnicity. In a country rife with social segregation, they have indeed found the formula that pulls people together for a few hours. Somewhere in the future a set of national honours should go to Declan Harris, aka “Tec”, and Rowan Ramotar, aka “Apache”.

Tony Curtis wows the crowd at BAA gymnasium on Tuesday night
Leroy Gibbons strikes a big note as he plays to the crowd
A packed BAA gymnasium was well entertained throughout the night
The view of the stage from the back of the audience

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Published November 14, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated November 14, 2015 at 12:12 am)

Cathedral of rockers, mecca of reggae

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