Thursday, May 23, 2024

BossTones, Steel Pulse to Headline Garlic Fest 2019

The 20th South Florida Garlic Fest announced its national headliners this week for the annual stinkin’ shindig. Both artists have roots in Jamaican music, though neither hail from that country. Both also peaked in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s but have new albums either on the shelves or on the docket for 2019.

On Friday, Feb. 9, Boston’s Mighty Mighty BossTones will bring 30 years of pogo-ready ska-punk anthems to Lake Worth’s John Prince Park for a rare appearance.

The BossTones emerged from the third-wave ska movement that also spawned Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake and No Doubt, and the band is distinguished by its gravelly-voiced singer, Dicky Barrett—who, we he isn’t leading radio-friendly earworms like “The Rascal King” and “The Impression That I Get,” can be heard as the announcer on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” The group is supporting its 10th album, 2018’s While We’re At It.

On Saturday, Feb. 10, an even more historic group, England’s Steel Pulse, will take the stage. The roots-reggae octet led by singer and guitarist David Hinds formed in 1975, and has released 11 albums.

Babylon the Bandit, from 1986, won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album; Steel Pulse remains the only non-Jamaican act to net the award, placing it in the company of Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear and a number of Wailers and Marleys. The unabashedly political band emerged from punk-rock ethos, and its songs have addressed racism, climate change, political corruption and war across such pointedly titled albums as True Democracy and African Holocaust; we should expect more of the same from 2019’s forthcoming Mass Manipulation, the first Steel Pulse release in 14 years.

Having followed the Garlic Fest artist announcement for years, these headliners are among the longtime festival’s strongest bookings. Way to go, Nancy Stewart and Festival Management Group!

Also new for 2019: The festival will be opening the Funky Buddha Beer Garden featuring rotating brews from the venerable South Florida brand every hour; and Artist Row, welcoming local artists offering interactive exhibits, including live graffiti art, face painting, street painting and more. Games, amusement rides and all the garlic confections your stomach desires will continue.

The South Florida Garlic Fest runs Feb. 9-10 at John Prince Park, 4759 S. Congress Ave., Lake Worth. Tickets run $12-$20. Call 561/279-0907 or visit

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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