Sunday, January 29, 2023
What Roots and Culture Means to I & I

Photography by William Morgan Conant

What Roots and Culture Means to I & I

A message from the founder of Green Woods Roots & Culture Revival, a reggae and positive energy powered (by Maine Standard Biofuels) roots music festival, now in its fifth season, held this year August 9–11.

Green Woods is a celebration of One Love, One Heart sharing in the Irie summer vibes of Maine and infused with the flavors and sounds of the Caribbean.

Reggae music is in part an expression of the tireless fight for freedom from the universal struggle, as a mindset and framework for free thinking. Along with the spiritual/medicinal consumption of cannabis, this state of open mindedness helps us to overcome great obstacles individually and as a collective people. 


The seed for Green Woods was planted in early 2015, when Joshua Gates of Avenue Media shared a lead on a sweet venue looking to host a reggae fest. Green Woods Reggae Revival was born, named in homage to the hosting town, the green vibe of the event, and the green forest of our great state of Maine. 

Mt. Abram, a small, 100% renewable energy ski resort in Greenwood served as our first home. It was a rugged yet stunningly energizing natural arena to germinate our event. 

As we grew, we found a larger venue at Thomas Point Beach which brought a refocus of the vision and an evolution of the name to the Green Woods Roots and Culture Revival - honoring both the roots and culture of reggae along with the roots and culture of the place, a kind and warm, family friendly environment connected beautifully to both nature and music. Who could ask for a better location to feature an up-and-coming vibe like we have here in Maine with a swiftly emerging industry and social acceptance soaring?


Roots can refer to music, especially reggae, that is strongly influenced by the traditional music of the culture that it originally came from. Reggae finds its roots in Mento, R & B, jazz, blues, ska, rocksteady, and soul. Roots music also describes American folk music, Americana, early blues, country, folk, R & B, and rock influences. Roots rock looks back to rock’s origins in folk, blues, and country music. 

Roots Revival has also become popular in various genres that include young performers reviving the traditional musical styles of their ancestors. Reggae Revival is a musical and cultural movement of rising consciousness originating in Jamaica. Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc is considered a founder of hip-hop music.

Dutty Bookman observed, “We are all Revivalists simply because we are alive in this era of human history, endorsing and ushering in this new consciousness. The true ambassadors of the movement are not selected by any individual or committee. They are obvious to everyone simply because their strengths are on display. They humbly and dutifully fulfill their roles in the collectively acknowledged mission to fill the moral void manufactured by the Babylonian system that has prevailed to this day. Look around and figure out who is who, and who is true. If you are honest with yourself, your spirit will tell you that you too are a Revivalist, and you will know how to identify the fellow Revivalists among us.”

Roots is essentially a folk music, or music of the people.

Just like the roots of a plant can be tangled and intertwined so are the musical roots of reggae and Americana… all coming from one source, one heartbeat, one love.


Maine has a proud culture of standing up for the people. The Underground Railroad passed right through Brunswick, home of Thomas Point Beach. They say the Civil War started and ended in Brunswick. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was written while her husband taught at Bowdoin. Her book led her to meet President Lincoln in 1862, where he reportedly greeted her saying, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

The war ended as the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, led by Joshua Chamberlain who had been moved when listening to passages Stowe read from her book while he attended Bowdoin, defended against the charge up Little Round Top at Gettysburg, effectively ending the war. As a fervently abolitionist state, Maine contributed a higher proportion of its citizens to the Union armies than any other. Further, when Maine officially became a state in 1820, it did so as a free state, having never allowed slavery.

We honor those from Jamaica who have also stood up for their rights, struggled, and ultimately broke free - many say under influence from Bob Marley, who symbolically held the hands of the opposing party leaders together on the stage. They found their independence in Jamaica, yet still struggle to find equality. We unite behind other once or still colonized nations in the Caribbean with hopes to move forward as one. 

We recognize the families and solo travelers who have joined us from the islands - whether to work the land with us or to seek refuge. Please know we recognize how hard you work for your people. We respect your values and hope we may raise families side by side with you for generations.

This is what we celebrate at Green Woods — acts of kindness and recognizing abundance through hard work and a bit of love from nature. Bring your family, your friends, your positive, Irie vibes and enjoy all that Maine has to offer — fresh food, fresh beer, fresh cannabis, and so much subtle and vibrant beauty. Find yourself at the Roots and Culture Revival!


As the festival grows, we hope to continue to sprout and cultivate the interconnected causes and celebrations the Revival encompasses — from the continuation of the permaculture garden started last season by East and Eye to the workshops and demos, including surfboard shaping, live art installations, and vendors of local crafts and goods. Live reggae bands and sound systems will fill the air all day long while craft beer and medicinal cannabis will be in abundant supply from wonderful local purveyors. 

Thomas Point Beach and Campground is a special place blessed by the heart and soul of a family positively committed to music culture and community. It is nestled in an oceanside, groomed yet natural “wilderness” just minutes from all the amenities. Brewery tours or family activities and sights abound within miles. 

Past headliners include Jah9, who even through the early fall cold brought fyah down from the stage and blessed us all, Organically Good Trio, The Mallett Brothers Band (bringing those local roots), Jesse Royal, Kabaka Pyramid, and Sister Carol and Prezident Brown at our premiere held in 2015.

Thanks to all of those who have supported us through the years! We hope you will join us this year, for the first time or again, to enjoy the Roots and Culture of this place we call home and its heartbeat that is reggae and roots music.

Bless Up!