No worries, and Caribbean, Blues music at international wine festival | Journal-news
MARTINSBURG — Boyd’s Steakhouse and 97.5 WKMZ present the fourth annual Irie Wine, Beer, Jazz & Reggae Festival Saturday at the Martinsburg Roundhouse.
This is a new location. Previously, the festival was held in Inwood. The event will have more than 100 wines from all over the world and domestically, many craft beers, and an arts and crafts area.
“We feature wines from around the world that you might not see at most wine festivals,” said organizer H.D. Boyd. “We have wines from places like France, Italy, Austria, Australia, Chile, and Germany. We’ll have some U.S. wines.”
Boyd said as a restaurant owner, he gets invited to specialized wine events to taste internationally distributed wines, something the public doesn’t normally get to do. He got the idea for this type of wine show featuring international wines from those opportunities. He organizes this event through distributors.
“The public doesn’t get to see anything like the wines in these wine shows,” he said. “They don’t get to try different kinds of merlots or chardonnays. You can get maybe four or five different ones at wine festivals. At wine festivals you usually try the wines from that winery. There might be ten West Virginia wineries at a West Virginia wine festival. We feature some wines at Boyd’s you can’t buy in a grocery store, but they’re wines you may see at different restaurants throughout the country. I wanted to bring that experience of being able to try wines from all over the country and different parts of the world to people.”
Irie, he said, means a pleasant greeting, or everything is good and no worries.
“It’s an all relaxing, no worries festival,” said Boyd. “We always have Caribbean music. Since we do the island theme and Jamaica’s like my second home, that’s where the name comes from. I brought blues music into it to add to the Caribbean music, fusing those together just like the wines you can’t normally get.”
He changed the venue to the Martinsburg Roundhouse. He said he’s selling tickets to people from not only this region but from all over the Mid-Atlantic.
The event is noon to 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25 adults in advance, or slightly more at the door. Youth age 16-20 or military, fire, and police are $20. Tickets can be purchased online at or at Mountaineer Grill & Pub and Island Bliss restaurants. Gates open at noon. Children under 15 are free.
Proceeds benefit the effort to preserve the Roundhouse.
Performers will be playing live music throughout the day. Delicious and authentic Caribbean food will be available. And there will be a designated area and activities specifically for kids and families. Kid-friendly activities include face painting and a moon bounce.
Jamaican recording artist Conkarah returns to West Virginia to headline. Born Nicholas Murray, he attended West Virginia University and played on the men’s soccer team. He has millions of YouTube views and two top ten hits on the reggae charts.
“He did a reggae version of Adele’s ‘Hello’ a few years ago with his sister Rosie,” said Boyd. “He does a lot of Top 40 pop songs in a reggae version. He has originals as well, but he really gets his YouTube views from doing his version of top American songs.”
The festival has the opportunity for a member of the public to perform. The deadline was May 5 for ladies to enter a video audition singing Adele’s “Hello,” in a competition to perform with Conkarah.
“His sister’s in the Canary Islands, and we couldn’t get her here to perform the song with him,” said Boyd. “He will select the lady to perform.”
The Kelly Bell Band and Jah Works join him as headliners. Jah Works was formed by Loyola College students while studying abroad in Belgium. Jah Works is a roots reggae band from Baltimore. Jah Works has been a member of the Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) since 2002 and has played for the troops in varied areas of the U.S. and the world such as United Arab Emirates, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, as well as Hawaii, Guam, the Marshall Islands, and South Korea.
Blues Revue Magazine describes the Kelly Bell Band as “Among the most genre-expanding acts on today’s blues scene. Who else can combine elements of hip-hop, funk, and blues-electrified here?” Kelly Bell Band has performed at the Irie Wine event before. Originally formed as the back-up band for rock and roll pioneer, Bo Diddley, the band has been touring the world ever since, entertaining fans in Japan, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cuba, and Germany to name a few locations.
Two comedians are slated to perform. Terric “Mr.KeepIt100” Higgins from #NoWorkAllPlayEntertainment has performed on many stages worldwide. He has shared the stage with many greats such as J.J. Walker and The Delfonics. Jamil “Mr.IAMComedy” Peterson from the comedy film “Alcoholic Bruce” has shared the stage with many talented and upcoming artist in comedy and music.
Martinsburg resident DJ Rude Girl will spin tracks before and between bands on the main stage.
Enter the festival grounds by way of the pedestrian bridge at the Caperton Train Station at 229 E. Martin St. Feel free to explore the historic Roundhouse property once on-site. Chairs, and pop-up tents are permitted. All stages and wine and beer will be indoors, inside the historic, 50,000-square-feet railroad complex. For more information, see the festival’s Facebook page or www.iriewinefest.com.