Photos by Martei Korley

It’s been a month, but we’re still catching our breath from the whirlwind that was the 2015 Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise. In its second edition, Damian Marley‘s boat ride from Miami to Jamaica lived up to its status as the world’s greatest floating reggae festival —in fact, it might just be in the running for best reggae festival, period.

We were aboard the first of this year’s two, back-to-back voyages, capturing every moment of the proceedings, from the sailaway party in Miami to Shinehead‘s epic outdoor session, and Capleton and Jr. Gong’s link-up at the finale. After Maxi Priest, Protoje, Morgan Heritage and Stephen Marley set the tone with sharp performances on Night One, Tanya Stephens, Christopher Ellis, Ky-mani Marley brought more fire on Night Two, along with Tarrus Riley, who gave one of the week’s most electric and dynamic performances with his Blak Soil Band. Then it was on to MoBay, where the cruise picked up Busy Signal, Elephant Man, Super Cat, Jah Cure, Bounty Killer and Popcaan. It was a rare opportunity for the U.S.-based portion of the crowd to see Busy, Cure, Bounty and Poppy, none of whom are currently able to travel to the States… and each delivered, though the highlight of the night was still the live dub set from King Jammy’s, featuring cameos from guest deejays Damian, Elephant Man and Shinehead. After a stop in Ocho Rios, Night 4 brought out Third World, Cham, Barrington Levy and the climactic performance from Jr. Gong himself, along with an epic, three-way sound clash between Mighty Crown, Bass Odyssey and Metro Media. Day 5 didn’t go as planned, as storms rained out most of the night’s performances, but not before Shinehead dueted with some friends in a special daytime set.

For us, enjoying the vibes was only one part of the mission: We sat down for a series of conversations with artists like Cham, Maxi Priest, Tanya Stephens and Tippa Irie, which we will be rolling out in our Live From The Jamrock Cruise webisode series, starting tomorrow. In the meantime, check out some of our favorite photos from this year’s cruise below, from the lens of our own creative director Martei Korley (and see even more pics here).

jamrock-cruise-day-2-christopher-ellis-2Christopher Ellis, son of the late, great Alton Ellis, takes the stage…

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The kid can sing. Must be the genes…

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Brother Ky-mani brought the hits…

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Ky-mani, feeling the vibes…

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Yuh nuh ready fi dis yet, bwoy! Tanya Stephens delivers…

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Don’t sleep on Tanya Stephens, still one of the queens of dancehall music after a few quiet years…

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The Blak Soil Band: One of the best in the business.

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Tarrus Riley joins Blak Soil on stage…

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In comes the Lion Paw…

jamrock-cruise-tarrus-riley-4Tarrus was an easy candidate for crowd favorite, delivering one of the week’s shining sets…

jamrock-cruise-tarrus-riley-5J Boog joins Tarrus on stage…

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Tippa Irie running tings with U.K.’s iconic sound system Saxon Studio…

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Soiled Face Clot? Bumbo…

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Gareth Daley from the LargeUp crew on the scene…

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DJ Bambino gets the Night 3 proceedings going…

jamrock-cruise-day-3-busy-signal-1B-B–B-Busy! Busy Signal takes the stage…

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Watch Out Fi Dis!

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Damian Marley bassist Shiah Coore takes in the start of Elephant Man’s set with the Ruff Kut band…

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It wouldn’t be a set from Elephant Man unless he brought out the big gyal for some acrobatics…

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The lights of MoBay added some extra scenery to Night 3…

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Pon Di River, Pon Di Bank? Nah, we’re on the ocean…

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Yes, that’s the one and only Super Cat. The long-MIA ’80s and ’90s dancehall icon, back in business after a 2013 comeback, hit the stage for just the second time in 2015…

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You can always count on the Don Dada to bring his fashion game

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Catching a vibes before Jah Cure hits the stage…

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Fresh off his Grammy nomination for The Cure, Jah Cure brings it live and direct…

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You could never say that Iyah Cure lacks for confidence…

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It’s the shoes, man…

jamrock-cruise-day-3-bounty-ruffkutThe Ruff Kutt band laid down the riddims for every one of Night 3’s performers–a walk in the park for a band whose experience includes backing up every single act at entire music festivals…

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You won’t find a dancehall riddim that Ruff Kutt doesn’t know…

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Ruff Kutt’s Ricardo Davis in the pocket…

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When it comes to live performances in dancehall, few can top the Five-Star General,  Bounty Killer…

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“GrungGaadzilla” looms over the crowd…

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Taking in the scene during Bounty Killer’s set….

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An unruly moment with dancehall’s young leader, Popcaan…

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Tr888ness! Up close and personal with the Unruly Boss, or perhaps you call him Fry Yiy

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When you get to see performances like these night after night, there’s smiles all around…

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Damian Marley puts his lighter up, as Shinehead toasts on King Jammy’s…

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Elephant Man steps back on the scene. Just like last year, the King Jammy’s set was a major treat for those who stayed up to see it.

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A stop-off for some ital in Ocho Rios with Ghetto Youths International artist Black Am I, and rapper MC Supernatural…

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A water taxi takes passengers back and forth to shore… 

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The Norwegian Pearl, home of the Jamrock Cruise, awaits its passengers…

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Don’t miss the boat!

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The hills of St. Ann loom in the distance as the ship gets ready to depart Jamaica…

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Third World lock in a riddim. Not too tough a task when you’ve been doing this for 40-plus years…

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Third World’s Cat Coore isn’t just a guitar virtuoso, he’s a cello master, too…

jamrock-cruise-day-4-barrington-levy-3The newly Grammy-nominated Barrington Levy, without a doubt one of reggae’s greatest living singers…

jamrock-cruise-day-4-barrington-levy-1Shudally-dadally-diddly, daddaly-diddly…whoa-oh! Dancehall’s scat master does his thing…

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Lawless as ever: Dancehall kingpin Cham.

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Damian Marley waves hello…

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Jr. Gong’s backup singers Roslyn Williams and Nikki Burt get in step…

jamrock-cruise-day-4-damian-marley-10A meditative moment in a high-energy set…

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Mighty Crown’s Masta Simon gets his point across during the three-way clash…

jamrock-cruise-day-4-clash-sky-juiceThat’s Metro Media sound system MC and all-around larger-than-life dancehall personality, Sky Juice…

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These ladies clearly had the pool in mind with their swimwear, but stopped to check out a colorful daytime set from Shinehead…

jamrock-cruise-day-5-sly-namboDrummer Sly Dunbar (right) and trombonist Ronald “Nambo” Robinson wait for things to clear up on Night 5…

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T.O.K.’s perfrmance was cut short by the rain…

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Trinidad representing on a windy, rainy night in the Caribbean Sea…

jamrock-cruise-day-5-norie-kurt-riley-madout-1Three the Hard Way: DJ Norie, DJ Kurt Riley and DJ MadOut.

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