The third year of Riptide Music Fest on Fort Lauderdale Beach expanded to a three-day festival, adding Friday afternoon to the festivities. While in its previous years Sunday took the slot for nostalgic acts from the 80's, this year Friday kicked off with the old-school jams. The Sugarhill Gang started off the weekend at 4pm, with Lauderdale's best streaming in after work. Hit songs like “Apache” and “Rapper's Delight” had the fans singing along and jumping up and down. The Sugarhill Gang's songs have been ingrained into our brain since childhood, the ultimate dance songs of the generation, and thus was the ultimate way to kick off the oldies weekend and celebrate the festival's extension.
Lisa Lisa was the next act to bring funky beats to the stage with songs from her 80's band Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. Known as being one of the first freestyle bands to emerge out of New York City, Lisa Lisa was a pioneer for women in music with songs like “Head to Toe” and “All Cried Out.” The performance started off with Lisa Lisa coming to the stage with her 1985 mega-hit “Can You Feel the Beat.”
Now, everyone remembers the infamous “Who Let the Dogs Out?” that smashed onto radio waves in early 2000, but did you know the Baha Men actually formed in the mid-80's? The Bahamian band may have met fame and won a Grammy at the turn of the century but they have been creating street parade funk beats for years before. The entourage put on a crazy energetic performance with songs like “Best Years of Our Lives” and “Move It Like This.”
As the sun set on day one of the beach party, Riptide veteran Sheila E greeted fans on the main stage. A percussionist and solo singer since the mid-80's Sheila E is a whirlwind to watch on stage in her colorful flowing outfits shredding on guitar. She has worked with numerous high-profile artists including Prince, The George Duke Band, and Marvin Gaye.
The main event of Friday night was highly anticipated as fans flocked to the barricades to catch the most well known music family themselves – The Jacksons. Fans young and old were dressed in costumes mimicking different eras from the Jacksons discography. The lights dropped and a movie reel of their past played over the screaming of the crowd that had nearly doubled in the past hour. Tito, Marlon, and Jackie Jackson walked onto the stage just as a trademark South Florida rain started to tickle down. The fans, nor the band, didn't seem to mind one bit though, as the brothers started the set off with the upbeat “Can You Feel It?”
The hour long performance included sparkly suit jackets glittering under the stage lights to the signature choreography of the music. Getting to see The Jacksons sing and synchronized dance to “Rock With You” and “Blame It on the Boogie” was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of those in attendance. The end of night one closed out with a massive beach singalong to “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground).”
For the first year of its extended line up, Riptide put on one hell of a First Friday, catering to those nostalgic tunes that resonate with both retirees and their grandkids. While the rest of the weekend followed more of an indie and rock vibe, starting off the weekend with the Jacksons, Baha Men, and The Sugarhill Gang was a surefire way to keep the people coming back for more.
review by Megan Garzone, photos by Megan Garzone, Dan Karanikis, and Sean McCloskey