Progress Reported for Ailing Reggae Star; Weekend Benefit Held in Woodstock

ST. JOHN —Relatives of Inner Visions bandleader Phillip “Grasshopper” Pickering say he’s moved into a new phase of recovery, following a late March health scare.

Mother Irma Pickering said the veteran musician and St. John community activist checked into a Puerto Rico rehabillitation center May 14 after being treated at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital since Easter Sunday.

Family members took to social media over the weekend to celebrate the singer, songwriter and guitarist’s birthday on May 13. Meanwhile a weekend lineup of musical artists staged a May 16 fundraiser in Woodstock, New York, benefitting Grasshopper.

“He’s come a long way. I’ve been to visit him twice,” Irma said, adding that other family members who traveled to Puerto Rico to visit him in the hospital are also pleased with his progress.

The local reggae star was airlifted by way of AeroMed after spending a week at the Schneider Regional Medical Center to the VA Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit April 5. Relatives are praising the treatment he received while abroad.

“The VA Hospital took very good care of him and the nurses were so nice, and everyone spoke English,” she said. “They treated him like a king.”

Doctors have told Pickering’s relatives they will make a determination on the next phase of recovery after one week at the therapy center.

Meanwhile, the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock reported brisk sales of the May 16 Reggae for Life concert, reporting a limited number of tickets would be avialable at the door the night of the show. Local artists joining with Jamaican performers to make musical magic included Ras T Asheber, Iya Ingi, Julia Nichols, Queen Tubby, K Vibes, Ras Atiba, Lion Melta, BOMBMOB and the female singing group, Harmony.