Lively Fest in north Oak Cliff celebrates reggae, Caribbean culture

Published in The Dallas Morning News on Oct. 12, 2015

Dozens of people danced in the street to live reggae music Sunday evening at Lively Fest, a celebration of Caribbean culture in the Tyler-Davis Arts District of north Oak Cliff.

Hundreds turned out to the festival, in its second year.

Through most of Sunday afternoon, a sparse crowd shopped or ate their way through Tyler Street, part of which was closed for the event. But by sundown, the crowd had livened up.

Oak Cliff resident Sergio Mendez, 20, said he doesn’t usually listen to reggae but was excited to learn about a different culture.

“The food and vibe looks good, too,” he said. “And I’m excited to listen to music that gives people such a spiritual feeling.”

Ras Elijah, 38, one of the festival organizers, owns Roots & Culture, a local Caribbean-themed shop.

“Lively Fest is one love, bottom line, because that’s what this world needs,” he said. “It’s a rainbow out here: white, black, Hispanic, gay, straight — everyone just feeling the one love vibe.”

Elijah said reggae is beloved in all cultures because of its peaceful lyrics.

“In the Caribbean, we call it irie — when everything is cool. Reggae music brings out the irie feelings and I want everyone to experience that,” he said.

“Reggae music is not only important today, it is needed today more than ever,” he said.

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