Peter Tosh’s 79th birthday celebrations in his native Belmont, Westmoreland proved to be an event befitting of the Legalize It legend.
There was peace profound, as fans of Peter rocked and grooved to his music, ate vegetarian food, drank cocktails or relaxed on the benches by the seaside, while others danced up a storm, or smoked big head spliffs.
What also made the two-day event special was the fact that all of his eight living children were in attendance. There celebrations were spearheaded by Devla “Serial” Dixon and held at the Blue Ocean Sands Restaurant just a stone’s throw from the mausoleum which houses Peter’s tomb, his final resting place.
The Commanding Officer of the Westmoreland Police Division also allowed an extension for the event to continue until 4:00 a.m., instead of the regular 2:00am cut-off time. Led by emcee DJ Amber, herself a Westmoreland native, all was nice and easy, with no rush from the police officers, as they allowed all artists to perform their sets undisturbed.
As for the music, the two-night event, which was dubbed “A tribute to the Great Honourable Peter Tosh,” saw headliners I-Wayne, Warrior King and Zamunda taking full command with exciting performances from their catalogs on Night One, whilst their upcoming and more seasoned Westmoreland colleagues gave good account of themselves.
I-Wayne, who closed the show, put on his usual fiery performance but injected his two backup singers into the mix, supposedly to show off his “sensual” side, while Warrior King, in living up to his breakout song Virtuous Woman, brought his wife, who is also his manager onstage to serenade her. The couple popped a kiss during the process, to the delight of the audience.
Night two equally thrilled fans of Peter Tosh. They erupted in cheers after Andrew Tosh announced that his father’s 80th birthday celebrations will be held in Belmont once more, at its original venue, the site of the mausoleum.
They again broke out in cheers when Bushman joined Andrew on stage for a rendition of Peter Tosh’s Don’t Look Back, a collab with Mick Jagger from the Westmorelite’s Mystic Man album.
Prior to that, the Fire King Fantan Mojah, who did a joint performance with his compatriot Lutan Fyah, ignited the venue with their light-hearted performances and had the Rasta-filled audience cheering them along.
Along with Bushman, they joined closing act Andrew Tosh towards the end of his performance in a beautiful show of camaraderie as they paid their respects to the late Wailer.
Admiral Tibet also found favor with the fans as he reeled out hits such as Serious Times and Deh Pon Mi Guard, and received an encore for his hit Leave People Business. His compatriots, Duane Stephenson also put on a commanding performance, while Terry Linen also gave a good account of himself, as did the lesser-known acts.
Music aside, farmers of the Belmont community also benefited immensely from the celebrations as they sold patrons fruits, ganja and sugar cane along the Belmont roadway, whose retaining walls and light posts were painted in the Rastafarian colours, red gold and green.
Over at the property where the Peter Tosh Mausoleum is located, a new gate befitting of the legend was erected to replace the one that had fallen into disrepair during the pandemic. The monument itself, which sits in his late mother’s yard was a sight to behold, even though the artist was still putting on the finishing touches to the murals on the walls.
The celebrations, which have not been held in the community for several years, received the blessing of the McIntosh family and the Peter Tosh Foundation, to be staged in Belmont, where the Reggae icon spent his formative years, much of his downtime whilst an artist.