Reggae Festival Comes to Downtown Kent, April 19

Reggae Meltdown – an island music festival – comes to the streets of Kent on Friday, April 19, at several downtown bars, pubs and coffee shops.

Reggae Meltdown – an island music festival – comes to the streets of Kent on Friday, April 19, at several downtown bars, pubs and coffee shops.

“There is a real spirit of celebration and excitement in the city,” says Ann VerWiebe, marketing associate at WKSU and attendee at last year’s Reggae Meltdown. “There were bands playing outside and inside and people walking the streets and really enjoying themselves. People know if they want to have a good time to come downtown.”

The performances take place throughout the evening at venues within easy walking distance of one another. The businesses taking part in Reggae Meltdown include 157 Lounge, Bar 145, Dominick’s, The Kent Stage, The Loft, Mugs, Ohio Music Shop, The Pub, Pufferbelly, Ray’s Place, Tree City Coffee, Water Street Tavern and Zephyr Pub. The first events will take place at 5 p.m. with performances at The Pub and The Loft.

“I think all of the venues want to be a part of this,” says Charlie Thomas, owner of Ray’s Place. “When you are a part of something like this, people get to go into all different types of places and see what Kent has to offer.”

Thomas started Reggae Meltdown in 2010 after realizing the need for a music festival in the spring. “In the spring, the weather is getting better, everyone is in a better mood and reggae is feel-good music,” says Thomas.

“Going last year was a great experience,” says Christian Dohar, a reggae enthusiast from Lakewood, Ohio. “It was nice to be able to park in one central location and walk around and see all of the scheduled bands.”

Dohar makes the hour-long drive from Lakewood to Kent to enjoy the reggae atmosphere. He says he thinks the festival attracts so many people because “reggae speaks to different types of religions, ages and groups of people.” Dohar says this year he is looking forward to seeing Gato’s Gullah Gumbo, Umojah Nation, Carlos Jones & the P.L.U.S. Band, as well as other performances.

All shows are free to the public, excluding the performances at The Kent Stage with an $8 cover charge. The Kent Stage will feature Cleveland reggae favorites Carlos Jones & the P.L.U.S. Band, along with Tropidelic and the B-Side Dubs.

Reggae Meltdown is sponsored by Red Stripe, Apollo Heating & Cooling, Hungry Howie’s, PARTA and Kent Apartments.

For more information about Reggae Meltdown and to view the schedule, visit

POSTED: Monday, April 15, 2013 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - 9:08am
University Communications and Marketing