Bodies pulsed in rhythmic motion to the driving organ and booming bass as the scent of marijuana encircled the Pickle Barrel on Feb. 4.Yup, the reggae cranking Wailers from Jamaica had invaded Killington.
Castleton State College students took over the front row of the dance floor, but the older generation in attendance wouldn’t be put to shame. Concert goers in their 60s mingled in, dancing and singing with revelers more than a third their age.
“It’s all love, it’s all about the music. It doesn’t matter who’s who, or who was born when, it’s all for the love of the reggae,” said Mark Townly, 52, of Queensbury, NY.
Townly said he has been coming to the Pickle Barrel for years to see the Wailers and other acts.
Lights were flashing throughout the building creating a rave-type feel on the dance floor and a large majority of the crowd was clearly stoned, but it all fit in well with the Rastafarian way of thinking.
Kevin Davy, known as Yvad, was the lead singer for The Wailers this night. He hit the stage sporting long dreads, sunglasses tipped over his eyes and a voice that put everyone into reggae trance.
“It is very good to play here. I just loved it, loved everyone here,” said Davy after the show.
Davy, originally from Kingston, Jamaica, said his music was inspired by Bob Marley and singing with The Wailers has helped him grow as a musician and creatively reach limits he didn’t know he could.
“It’s such a great thing, great blessing to work with such musicians,” said Davy.
Band Manager Rich Allis said he loved the intimate setting of playing at the Pickle. Allis stood right by the stage the whole night helping the band with whatever they needed and helping fans feel a personal connection to the band.
“It’s awesome to play here, the band loves it. Playing in Vermont is great for them, there is great herb here. It’s a chill, hippie, mountain vibe playing here,” said Allis.
In the Rasta religion, smoking pot is a spiritual act that is thought to bring them closer to their higher power, Jah.
Controversial or not, it’s all part of the reggae experience for these musicians. Legalize was a popular word of the night that was yelled across the floor and to the stage.
The Wailers played until the wee hours of the morning cranking out Bob Marley hits including “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Jammin,” and “One Love,” to name a few.
“Playing here at the Pickle Barrel is so different than where we normally play. It is a bit easier here. For huge crowds you have to put out a lot more, here we do what we do and relax, it’s a good thing,” said Davy.
Late into the night, fans started to trickle out of the bar, but The Wailers were not ready to leave. They mingled with fans and continue to enjoy the chill hippie vibe of the mountain.
They ended their night with pizza and beer and enjoying what they considered the finer attributes of Vermont.
“It’s all love man, we do what we do because we love it,” said Davy.