Reggae lovers flock to first Wendell Reggae Fest since 2019

  • Shanti Starr with her drums at the Wendell Reggae Fest on Saturday. Staff Photo/Bella Levavi

  • Souls of Zion performs at the Wendell Reggae Fest on Saturday. Staff Photo/Bella Levavi

  • Candy Walker and her granddaughters, Emma and Sophia Walton, play with hula hoops at the Wendell Reggae Fest on Saturday. Staff Photo/Bella Levavi

Staff Writer
Published: 7/18/2022 9:26:25 AM
Modified: 7/18/2022 9:27:02 AM

WENDELL — The town got back to its reggae roots on Saturday, with about 250 attendees flocking to the first Wendell Reggae Fest since 2019.

Held at Deja Brew Cafe & Pub, which plans to reopen later this summer, the event included music, vendors, food and a full bar. Rhythm Inc., a reggae hip-hop band based in Wendell and led by Simon White, is the host of the Wendell Reggae Fest. White started the festival in 2017, although the event experienced a hiatus in 2020 and 2021 amid the pandemic.

“We are happy to be having the annual Wendell event once again,” commented Patti Scutari, owner of Deja Brew. “This event brings so many reggae lovers to the area.”

Nine bands from throughout the Northeast performed from 2 to 11 p.m.

“Wendell is a great and accepting community,” said Easthampton resident Jane Jacobus, who used to live in Wendell. “Deja Brew brings us a variety of music. They bring in great local socially conscious reggae bands from the Northeast.”

Saturday’s event marked the fourth Wendell Reggae Fest and attendees were happy to have it back after the two-year hiatus.

“I’m so grateful everything opened up again, and we can have the festival,” said Wendell resident Vernon Francisco.

Kyle Devonish, performing in the band Souls of Zion, said, “It is a wholesome experience playing here. The vibes are always nice.” This is the second time Devonish has performed at the Wendell Reggae Fest with Souls of Zion.

Shanti Starr is originally from the area, but spent many years across Africa studying traditional percussion. She sold her traditional instruments and fabric at Saturday’s festival as well as performed in two bands.

“The music was my calling,” she explained. “Wendell is a diverse garden. I am so happy to be part of it.”

Contact Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or

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