Featured photo by Pass The Aux
Written by Guest Contributor, Miguel Calderon
As the sun was shining and weather was sweet, the Long Beach area got blessed for One Love Cali Reggae Fest. A sold out crowd enjoyed the staple 70° California weather, as well as the good vibes that everyone brought to the festival. In One Love’s third year, lucky fans were able to enjoy 2 days worth of some of the biggest names in Reggae and Hip Hop that cruise the festival circuit. With artists hailing from all over the world: Hawaii, New York, Jamaica, and California just to name a few, One Love represented the wide range of the reggae community. Upon arriving to the venue, attendees were greeted by the 1,019.50 foot Queen Mary boat, quickly setting the tone on how mesmerizing and gorgeous the scenery surrounding this venue was.
Saturday’s performers included Matisyahu, Fortunate Youth, Collie Buddz, Iration, J-Boog, Pepper, Atmosphere and Rebelution. The band Pepper took it back to some of their most loved music, Kona Town, and brought the house down while showcasing their true skills as musicians. Having the oceanfront view from the stage combined with the gentle breeze blowing in the wind and as the sun was starting to set, things couldn’t have aligned any better as J-Boog took the Cali Reggae Fest stage. J-Boog, a California native: Long Beach born, Compton grown, had the crowd swaying from side to side with his fusion of reggae, R&B, and hip hop music. Iration, who played a set both of the days, mesmerized the crowd with their signature dub and reggae sound playing behind their amazing vocalist. Atmosphere, coming from Minnesota, closed out Saturday proper by showered the crowd in love and appreciation throughout their performance. They played some of their biggest hits , Trying to Find a Balance, Sunshine, Always Coming Back to You, and Smart Went Crazy. Atmosphere sent us off into the night knowing day one was a great success.
For Sunday’s encore, Barrington Levy, The Original Wailers, Tribal Seeds, Common Kings, The Green, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Long Beach Dub Allstars as well as Nas were some of the performing artists. Witnessing The Original Wailers perform at the Flav stage felt surreal as the crowd sang along to all the songs we know and love. Remembering that the same songs that were once played alongside Bob Marley, the feeling of community, wholeness, and one love was prevalent. Not only did The Wailers’ set transpire their talent into each of those feelings, all throughout the weekend, each other also shared that love; Togetherness and mere euphoria was widespread. As was the case during Matisyahu’s second set for the weekend, on Sunday as he was performed his setlist from his Live at Stubb’s album. A spiritual musical experience was to be expected before catching Matisyahu. Needless to say, there was no shortage of that for either of his weekends sets.
The vibes were contagious at the Queen Mary venue throughout the weekend. From artists, to festival goers rocking out at the stage, and to everyone in between, the energy was high throughout the diverse crowd. During the short walk from one stage to the other, it was fantastic to see the looks of happiness and joy throughout the crowd of this all ages event. The smiles on everyone’s faces were seen high and low whether you were in GA, the VIP stands, bottle service area, or backstage. That venue is a hidden gem and is a sight worth checking out. With having the Los Angeles river on one side of you and the Aquarium of the Pacific and downtown Long Beach in the distance, walking through the graffiti filled tunnel that connects the stage areas, to the Queen Mary itself, this well kept secret lived to its greatest potential once again.