The Festival

Saturday, August 12 – Gates open at 4:00 p.m.

Ya Maka My Weekend turns 26 years old this year with the region’s best Caribbean music, food, culture, and island atmosphere. Rasta wear, palm trees, and surfboards all return to transform downtown Rock Island into a tropical oasis.


2017 Music Lineup

  • 4:00 – 4:45 Morten Wa Byaombe (West)
  • 5:00 – 5:45 Bumper Crop (East)
  • 6:00 – 6:45 Rude Punch (West)
  • 7:00 – 8:30 Yard Squad (East)
  • 8:45 – 10:15 Di Machine (West)
  • 10:30 – 12:30 40oz To Freedom (East)



One Day Pass – $9

Tickets can be purchased in advance through the Downtown Rock Island Partnership at 309-788-6311, or admission fee can be paid at the gate.


Please no pets. No coolers allowed inside of premises.


Personal lawn chairs and seating is allowed.


More Information

Ya Maka My Weekend History

Ya Maka My Weekend was the very first festival held in The District and started in 1992. Since that time the event has been constantly evolving. You’ll still find the same great reggae music and Caribbean food with a different twist each year.


One of the unique things about a District festival is that it’s set in the middle of downtown, allowing for a free-flow of people from festival to entertainment establishment to art gallery to restaurant and back to the fest. It also means that if the weather is inclement, you can head inside for a break, and never leave the festival grounds.


We hope you enjoy this reggae & Caribbean festival and comeback year after year! Ya Maka My Weekend is usually held the second full weekend in August.

Food & Culture

Caribbean Cuisine
Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of African, French, Indian, Spanish, and other cuisines. A typical dish is “jerk” seasoned meats, which originally referred to the process of rubbing spices and acidic hot peppers onto strips of meat in order to tenderize and preserve them.  Rice is a staple food eaten with various sauces and beans.


Island Vibe
Drink a cold refreshment while you sit next to a palm tree with your toes in the sand listening to live reggae music…you will forget that you’re still in the Midwest! It’s a Caribbean paradise that can be found right here in Rock Island, Illinois. The “Ya Maka Beach” will be ready for you to play in, dig for buried treasure, or build a sandcastle!


Open Air Marketplace
In the open air marketplace you will find all kinds of unique items like tie dye clothing, sarongs and other apparel, cowry shell and hand-crafted jewelry, incense & oils, glow necklaces, Caribbean flags, wood carvings, drums, African wares, and sunglasses. Official Ya Maka My Weekend t-shirts and the specially blended “Yamaican” Jerk Seasoning will also be sold .

Artists, Musicians & Vendors

We are seeking a variety of vendors for Ya Maka My Weekend 2017. If you are an artist, musician or vendor and would like to be considered for the event, please contact Erik Reader, Executive Director, by phone at (309) 788-6311 or email at