It Came from the Caribbean!

Reggae, dancehall, soca... and handicrafts!

You're going to need some Red Bull to go with your Red Stripe this Memorial Day weekend, because you, baby, have some partying to do.

"In Jamaica, we party every single day of the week," Damien Tater says. "It's crazy fun -- fun from when I wake up in the morning till when I go to bed." But in West Palm Beach, where Tater now lives? "It's not really like that." Well, not yet -- although things have picked up since the 25-year-old and three of his friends started Full-a-Vibes, a company that usually promotes reggae and dancehall club nights around town. This weekend, Tater and company "wanted to do something that was not just for young people like ourselves. Something that can include Grandma, Grandpa, the kids, the cat, and the dog. So they set up the Second Annual Summer Sizzle/Caribbean Jerk Fest. On Saturday, Beres Hammond -- he of the gravelly voice, the lovers' lyrics, and the omnipresent headwear -- rocks the mic at Meyer Amphitheatre (105 Evernia St., West Palm Beach), supported by Marcia Griffiths, Jimmy Cozier, and Empress Ayeola. Showtime starts at 2 p.m., and the party goes into the evening. Tickets cost $35. On Sunday, the party continues -- for free. Back at Meyer, Island Heat plays reggae covers and Giselle the Wassi One and Eternal Vibes spin soca tunes. Food will be for sale, and plane tickets on Air Jamaica (affectionately known as "the Love Bird") will be raffled off. Call 561-236-2537, or visit www.fullavibes.com.

Farther south, the granddaddy of Caribbean music, VP Records, is throwing down a megaparty with most of the artists on its roster. You've heard of this guy Sean Paul? Well, you wouldn't have without VP. In the '50s, Vincent Chin had a job changing the records in jukeboxes in his native Kingston, Jamaica. Smarty-pants realized he could turn a buck by selling the used records. Eventually, he moved to New York and started distributing Caribbean music full-time. In 1993, he got even smarter and started his own record label. It wasn't long before even white boys from Wisconsin were singing "Dutty man have di shooby shooby" (from Sean Paul's hit "Like Glue"). While Paul himself is not slated to perform at Sunday's VP Records Second Annual Memorial Weekend Concert,pretty much every other dancehall biggie is: Luciano, Freddie McGregor, El-ephant Man, I-Wayne, Capleton, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Macka Diamond, and Sizzla. The show happens at Bayfront Park (301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). General-admission tickets cost $45, but VIP admission is offered at $100. Call 305-438-9488, or visit www.vprecords.com.

If you like your parties a little less hedonistic, a touch more cerebral, and a good deal more Haitian, try the International Creole Fest. When the French and the Africans mix, it's good times, people! On Saturday and Sunday, dance, music, visual arts, handicrafts, food, literature, theater, and cinema will be on display at Esplanade Park (SW Fourth Avenue and SW Second Street, Fort Lauderdale). It's free. Call 954-274-9978, or visit www.action-foundation.com.

 
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