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Terra Fermata In Stuart To Host ‘Reggae For The River’ Benefit Concert With Reunited Members Of The Wailers

Bob Marley's former bandmates are coming to Stuart this weekend in support of a good cause.

As part of a benefit concert to help solve the Treasure Coast's water crisis, two original members of famed reggae group The Wailers—Al Anderson and Aston Barrett, who goes by "Family Man"—will perform at Terra Fermata on Sunday, Aug. 28. The two are touring together for the first time since Bob Marley's death in 1981.

Local reggae band Smoking Section will open the show with a selection of their own roots, rock and funk tunes. Doors open at 4 p.m., with the Wailers taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. 

The "Reggae for the River" fundraiser will benefit four local nonprofits working toward a long-term solution to the region's environmental crisis: BullSugar.org, Citizens for Clean Water, the Rivers Coalition and the Indian Riverkeeper.

Reggae and river activism may sound like an arbitrary pairing, but it makes a lot of sense if you think about it, advocate Jo Neeson of BullSugar.org suggests.

"People that are into reggae music are around the water—island people, surfers, fishermen," she said. "It was kind of a natural segue."

Terra Fermata's owner, Ron Hart, had been trying for a while now to attract the Original Wailers for a performance at the Stuart music venue, according to Neeson, who said "Reggae for the River" turned out to be the perfect time to do it.

Hart needed a special occasion to bring the reggae legends to town, and as such, approached the local water advocacy groups about organizing a charitable event with the Original Wailers (an off-shoot of Marley's band, formed by Anderson and former member Junior Marvin in 2008). It was luck and coincidence that a reunion tour with Family Man would kick off in time for the Stuart performance.

"This just happened to come together at the right time," Neeson said.

The cause is more important than ever, Neeson says, because of the blue green algae in the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon.

"We have lost so much business [in the area]. I'm a small business owner, and I can't even start to count it," she said.

Because it's an election year, Reggae for the River's organizers plan to share bipartisan voter guides, which show which candidates are helping or hurting the river. For example, the guides will indicate who has signed the Now or Neverglades declaration calling for a stop to the discharges from Lake Okeechobee and who has taken campaign contributions from Big Sugar (the agricultural interests with land south of Okeechobee that are associated with blocking the natural flow of water).

In fact, local officials have been invited to Reggae for the River, so that they can interact one-on-one with their constituents. In addition, water experts from each of the organizations will be on hand to talk to attendees about the water issue and answer their questions.

Finally, politically active locals will be rewarded at Reggae for the River: Guests who've already voted in Florida and Martin County's primary elections can bring their "I Voted" sticker to earn a free beer.

Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. They can be purchased in person at Terra Fermata in Stuart or at terrafermata.com.

Events at Terra Fermata are typically held rain or shine, but guests should stay tuned to the weather news this weekend in case a tropical storm or hurricane rolls in. The venue will post updates to Facebook if there are any changes to the scheduled event.

Terra Fermata; 26 SE 6th Street, Stuart