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Floaters and boaters descend on Lake Murray for annual Reggaetronic Music Festival

Lake Murray will be rocking July 13 as the seventh edition of the Reggaetronic Music Festival celebrates the vibes of modern reggae, funk, rock and electronic music while floating near Spence Island.
Lake Murray will be rocking July 13 as the seventh edition of the Reggaetronic Music Festival celebrates the vibes of modern reggae, funk, rock and electronic music while floating near Spence Island. Submitted

If you expect Lake Murray to be quiet this weekend after back-to-back weekends celebrating July Fourth, you’re wrong.

In fact in some ways, Lake Murray will be rocking more on July 13 as the seventh edition of the Reggaetronic Music Festival celebrates the vibes of modern reggae, funk, rock and electronic music while floating near Spence Island.

Yes, it is a 100 percent floating music festival, assessable only by boat. It’s South Carolina’s longest running, flotilla music festival with more than 200,000 pounds of barges attached and anchored forming the stage.

And it’s free.

“If you ask why people love this event I would tell you that it’s unique,” said Ronnie Alexander, one of the festivals founders. “It’s different. The vibe is different. This is a showcase of our lake and our state. We are bringing something unlike anything else in the country and people both inside and out of the Palmetto state are realizing that.”

Reggaetronic started in 2011 as a re-boot of an event known as Reggae Fest, which left an impact on the current founders of Reggaetronic.

“It is truly hard to believe how far this has come,” Alexander said. Folks are expecting to come from 18 different states. “With the help of Dominion Energy and Capital City Lake Murray Country, we hope to grow even more in the future to get all 50 states to come see the jewel of South Carolina.”

Alexander and Ron Cohen knew they had a unique concept with an opportunity to showcase Lake Murray, South Carolina and the people of both.

“To get buy-in from our community, our patrons, and our corporate sponsors has been something we could have never imagined when we first started,” Cohen said.

Reggaetronic is produced by Electric Promotions, who expects about 13,000 boaters and floaters to soak in the sun and music at the festival. A portion of proceeds from Reggaetronic will go to benefit the Jamil Temple Shriners to contribute to the Children’s Hospital of South Carolina.

“We have always had a soft spot for children,” Cohen said. “Everyone on our core team has kids. One individual has twins who were unfortunately born prematurely. We know first-hand what contributions can do to aid the medical community in enhancing the lives of children in our state.”

First time? Here’s some tips

Among the 13,000 folks expected to be floating on Lake Murray on Saturday will be some Reggaetronic rookies. While floating on the lake, listening to an assortment of music is definitely not difficult, here are some tips for first-timers planning to enjoy Reggaetronic.

▪ Bring a boat or other floating vessel (yes people bring “other vessels”) because remember, it is a 100 percent floating event. Folks hang out on boats or float in the water.

▪ Remember, this time of year it can get quite toasty so be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

▪ Behave. The Department of Natural Resources and the Coast Guard will have a presence on the lake so be sure you are obeying all local maritime laws.

▪ Boaters (and floaters) will have to keep entry and exit lanes clear throughout the show.

▪ Take away all litter. Reggaetronic is built around the spirt of fellowship. As you enjoy the day, please be mindful of your surroundings, be courteous to your neighbors, and let’s leave the lake better than when we arrived by throwing away your trash.

▪ Arrive early. There will be fans who will show up and camp as early as Thursday evening to lock in their lake spot. While you don’t have to show up that early, you should get there by 10:30 a.m. Anytime after noon will present challenges in trying to get a close viewing spot. Remember, this isn’t a ticket event with assigned areas.

▪ If you are trying to meet up with other friends on the lake, planning is important. It can be challenging to locate specific boats once folks begin to tie up their vessels to each other. Try to coordinate before arriving to make everyone in your crew is tied up together.

Music lineup

Here are the bands who will be performing at Reggaetronic:

▪ Bumpin Uglies

▪ Styles & Complete

▪ Of Good Nature

▪ Bois Obscur

▪ Lefty at the Washout

▪ 76 and Sunny

Some band members who will be performing at Reggaetronic shared their thoughts about playing at a floating music festival.

Jay Foster, Lefty at the Washout

Q. What makes Reggaetronic special to you?

A. Reggaetronic is a one of a kind festival as it is dedicated to the genre we know and love in reggae and mixes it with futuristic feel of electronic dance music. Take this out on the water to an island you can only get to by boat and you have an event that is second to none.

Q. How will you be enjoying Reggaetronic when you’re not performing?

A. I enjoy the camaraderie and hanging out with the groups on the bill and watch their sets. A lot of the groups we have played with for many years so it has become an annual reunion of sorts and reuniting with old friends and bandmates makes this festival even more personal and important to those involved. Add that to the fact it grows leaps and bounds every year and you have an event you don’t want to miss.

Jon Reed, Of Good Nature

Q. What makes Reggaetronic special to you?

A. We’ve heard about Reggaetronic in the past and we’re beyond pumped to be playing our first one. To play music for a crowd splashing around in Lake Murray sounds like one hell of a party. We played a show with a similar concept a few years back. Folks anchored their boats on Lake Wylie for a small concert. Reggaetronic is on another level, the production looks top notch and we are ready to have y’all rocking out there! Pun fully intended

Q. How will you be enjoying Reggaetronic when you’re not performing?

A. Belly flop contest. Just kidding. Kind of.

Charles Riley, 76 and Sunny

Q. What makes Reggaetronic special to you?

A. Reggaetronic is the full embodiment of combining community, art, and fundraising. It’s not every day, you get to be a part of something that brings so many people together that are there to experience music and also better the community.

Q. How will you be enjoying Reggaetronic when you’re not performing?

A. Definitely getting to meet new people and catch up with old familiar faces. There’s no doubt everyone will end the day with a ton of new friends.

Brandon Hardesty, Bumpin Uglies

Q. What makes Reggaetronic special to you?

A. We’ve played a few barge gigs before and they’re always very special. Reggae music goes hand in hand with the beach so there really isn’t a better setting for us to do our thing. I can’t wait!

Q. How will you be enjoying Reggaetronic when you’re not performing?

A. I’m stoked to drink some cold beer and listen to good music.

If you go

Reggaetronic

When: 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. July 13

Where: Spence Island (accessible by boat only)

Cost: Free. VIP front-row parking is available for $250.

Notable: Those younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Details: www.reggaetronicsc.com

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