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Reggae fest a nationwide attraction
Reggae at Smooth Rapids 2019- Tala Martin.jpg
Reggae at Smooth Rapids is next weekend Aug. 2-3. The annual festival features live music, camping, kayaking, food trucks, vendors and good vibes. During last year’s event, Tala Martin was all smiles while twirling a tie-dyed ribbon.

Get ready to groove next weekend as Reggae at Smooth Rapids returns for its fifth annual celebration of camping, crafts and guitar-driven fun.

The lineup features the Joe Harvey Band, Whyte Noise, Plainview Vibes, E.N. Young and Imperial Sound, Resonated, Elusive Groove, and several other musicians. 

The two-day festival allows camping throughout the property for people to pitch tents, hang hammocks and have designated RV spaces.

Music begins Friday, Aug. 2, from 4 p.m. to midnight and will last through Saturday, Aug. 3, from 1 p.m. to midnight. The majority of the performances will be reggae-related. However, there will be a DJ performing five sets of electronic music throughout the weekend.

Reggae at Smooth Rapids is not just a popular event in McMinnville. People from Alaska, Florida, Maine, California and other states have bought tickets for this year’s event, organizers say.

Many vendors will be on hand selling handmade jewelry, tie-dye apparel, drawings and paintings, CBD products, and more. Local craft beers, such as Calf Killer and Depot Bottom Brewery, will be on tap, while food trucks will be ready to serve.

Turning the land at Smooth Rapids into a fairy-tale like forest with lighting in the trees and decorations throughout the property takes weeks of preparation. The Smooth Rapids team and co-founders of the event, local band Whyte Noise, create the magical atmosphere throughout the woods, main stage and by the river.

“People love the atmosphere. They love the smallness of it where you don’t have to be elbow-to-elbow with people in the crowd, and you have room to breathe,” said co-owner of Smooth Rapids, Jimmy Barker, in response to what people say they like most about the festival. “Everyone loves the river and enjoying it during the event.”

Around 600 people were in attendance Saturday night last year. Barker says more tickets have been sold during the pre-sale this year than ever before so hundreds are expected in McMinnville next weekend.

Not only do the patrons love Reggae, but many of the bands and musicians who’ve played at the event enjoy it as well.

Whyte Noise spearheaded the popular event with members Cotey Tanner, Brandon Black and Jeremy McMinn asking the Smooth Rapids owners if they would be interested in helping create a local reggae festival. Jimmy Barker, Todd Barker, Mickey Heath and Michael Lockhart, the co-owners of Smooth Rapids, agreed.

“We said yes. It sounded like a lot of fun,” said Jimmy Barker.

A weekend and camping pass is $65 and a day pass is $25. On Saturday, each person who buys a weekend pass has an option to purchase an additional kayak trip for a lesser price of $15 for a shuttle to Pepper Branch Park to float to Smooth Rapids.

The gates officially open Friday, Aug. 2, at noon and the property will close at noon on Sunday, Aug. 4. The festival is family-friendly and children under 5 gain free admittance. Smooth Rapids is located at 245 Durham Street in McMinnville.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit