San Jose Downtown’s Plaza de Cesar Chavez turned into a small Reggae City with a mini water park for the San Jose community on June 17, 2010 and had many people young and old swinging their hips, dancing and getting their musical groove on from 5:30 p.m.to 9:15 p.m.
This weekly event had many families with children, and grand children come out to the park, to enjoy the musical entertainment and made it possible for many cool off by the water fountains.
Daniel Espinoza who was spending some time with his grandson by the water fountains, said, “It’s really nice. It makes me feel like a child watching my grandson run through the fountains. I’m definitely here for the music as well. I want to see the Skatalites. I’ve heard them on the radio and was hoping to get a chance to see them live, and hope to pass some of my music knowledge on to my children and grand children.”
Another individual who was enjoying herself at the Park by the Water fountains and several feet away from the musical stage, Daphne Isom said, “Music is great and the atmosphere is great too. It’s cool that they have a space for the kids to have fun and let lose and I can still hear the music from here. I don’t have to be right up front with the band. I come every year and I also go to the Jazz Festival later this year. Free events are always good. My nephews come every year as well. They’re visiting from Tennessee and we take them to the park or to the beach, or anything else free. We have a great time. We take them to all the free events so we don’t have to go to Great America.”
Asked if she has heard of the Skatalites, Isom said “No, I’ve never heard of them, but I just come and listen to the music.”
Ruth Cole, a Gulf Coast transplant from Mississippi working in San Jose was spending the day with some of her coworkers, “Music in the Park is a great event, because it’s Free. Lot’s of live entertainment.”
Cole’s friend and co-worker Debra Covwelle, a transplant from Atlanta enjoyed the music and just loved being part of a big crowd. “The music is really good. It’s a nice turn out, quite a big crowd.”
Echoing Cole’s enthusiasm about the event, Annabel Martinez, returning to Music in the Park event for the second year, “It’s a great turn out, it’s nice to see the community come together like this, it’s really enjoyable, the music is great. This is my first time seeing them and I’m enjoying it. I’ve been coming to Music in the Park since last year, and I try to make it a annual event for me to go to.”
Rick Jensen, Director of Communications for the San Jose Downtown Association estimated the crowd at the Ska/Reggae event to be in the 6,500 range. Jensen says “It seemed like a lot of people were having a lot of fun. We average about 5,500 people per show, with the Skatalites we were in the 6,000 to 6,500 range. The Reggae Ska shows, they usually attract bigger crowds. The rock shows are usually in the 5,500 range.”
Students from near by San Jose State also took advantage of the Music in the Park event as a summertime get together to catch up with family and friends with and enjoy the music. Sonia Ayala, a student from San Jose State University said, “It is awesome, I love all the music, it’s pretty full. It’s so funny. I was able to bump into my friends here. I bumped into a couple of my friends here. I definitely want to come again starting this Thursday for the rest of the summer.”
Metro Newspaper, Movin’ 99.7, KSJS, Rockstar Energy Drink, NBC bay Area and T48 and others sponsored the event.