Written by Tyler Connaghan
California Roots Music & Arts Festival has become one of the largest west-coast music and art festivals since its inception in 2010. Held annually in the Monterey County Fairgrounds, the birthplace of the world’s first true music festival, Monterey Pop, Cali Roots has gained a reputation for its natural and communal spirit that outputs the same ideals of happiness, love, and peaceful rebellion, that its predecessor had done so long ago.
Upon the beautiful, sunny fairgrounds, musicians from many realms including reggae, rock, hip-hop, and folk, come together to create a cosmic wonderland that just seems to get more exciting as the years go on. While singling out five artists in of a vast array of incredible artists that are set to play on the 2018 line-up is a difficult thing to do, we wanted to give you a small preview of some of our favorites to get you pumped! Without further ado, here are five must see artists for this year’s Cali Roots Festival.
In a world that is beginning to lose sight of true roots culture, Chronixx is helping a new generation to rediscover it. The Jamaican born artist, son of famed dancehall artist Chronicle, has been slowly climbing to the top of the reggae industry since 2011 with his infectious singing and modern Rastafarian grooves. With a sense of revolution in his mind and joy in his heart, Chronixx can work a crowd like no other. Chronixx last appeared at Cali Roots in 2015 so we’re very stoked to be seeing him again!
It’s pretty much impossible not to include Xavier Rudd on this list. For a festival that prides itself on passion, love, peace, and kindness, this man is the perfect catalyst of them all. Not only does he create a miraculous performance, wielding an array of instruments that mix traditional sound with something distinctly fresh, he is able to capture an audience with the power and emotion of his songs. While he has been travelling the world playing festivals for quite some time, he has yet to make a pit stop at Cali Roots. Being able to see him at this year’s fest will surely surpass your expectations of what it means to put on a great show.
Founding member of the famed rap group, The Click, E-40 has probably been making music since most of us were in the womb. After thirty years in the game, he is still considered to be one of the most legendary Bay Area rappers. Twenty-four whopping studio albums later, E-40 has an arsenal of music that could get the most hardcore hip-hop fan bobbing their head. From the now-novelty TR-808 drum machine beats to the modern, gangster hop, E-40 is a piece of history embodied in genuine rapper. His music is so prominent that he is now hitting the stage at this year’s Cali Roots, an honestly unexpected event. E-40 has proven himself to be such an influential figure in the music community and will surely provide a good chance for us peace-loving hippies to get down for a bit.
Ozomatli is easily the liveliest band I have ever had the chance to see. The diverse group consisting of members from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, deliver a globally renowned mix of funk, jazz, Latin, and hip-hop into their live sets with dedicated precision and unbounded passion. If there is one band that can keep a crowd moving for hours, it’s Ozomatli. Those eager to shake their hips should definitely stick around to catch these legends in action.
Okay this one might seem obvious, but if I didn’t mention the group that essentially pioneered the beachy reggae that all Californians have come to know and love, we wouldn’t be doing this list any justice. From the laid-back, doobie lighting love songs to the mosh-pitting, punk rock jams, Slightly Stoopid has something for everyone in their live show. Seeing them rock the Santa Barbara Bowl last year was amazing. Not only did they keep the crowd moving for over two hours, their show was full of surprises with a plethora of legendary guest musicians and traditional reggae covers that exceeded any expectations. If there is one band that can amplify the vibe of a summer-soaked backyard party and bring it to thousands of people at once, it’s Slightly Stoopid. Please don’t make the stoopid mistake of missing them headlining Sunday night!