Featured Photo by A Geller Photo for California Roots
Written by Mark Apuzzo
Nothing quite pairs with sunshine and happy days like some good reggae music. This spring, the California Roots Music Festival is bringing all the reggae we could ask for. The 10th edition of the festival will be returning to the scenic Monterey Bay area at the Monterey Fair Grounds from May 24th to the 26th. The Music and Arts festival will be celebrating 3 days of some of the best acts around the world.
Photo by A Geller Photo for California Roots
This year’s lineup is packed with artists all bringing their own unique twists and inspirations to the broader reggae spectrum. Massive names like Rebelution, Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads, Soja, and Stick Figure are leading many of the headlining spots. With headliners like these, anyone with a taste for this wonderful island-inspired music would be drawn in instantly. These artists aren’t the only bands to be looking out for, however. Here are a few artists on this year’s lineup that you should get excited about:
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
Ben Harper has been making music as a solo act since 1994. It wasn’t until 1999, however, that he formed the Innocent Criminals band where they created the Burn to Shine album. This was the beginning of a beautiful thing as Ben used the band to explore into more rock stylings with his music. When Ben joins together with the band his music goes from a softer, alternative/reggae style to a more “classic rock” style. The results are an excellent blend of clean vocals with strong electric guitar and percussion. The group took a long hiatus after their 2007 release of Lifeline but has come back to the surface in 2016 for Call It What It Is. Be sure to catch this opportunity to see the group before they all separate again!
You don’t hear too many female artists in reggae music, but Tash Sultana will be bringing her feminine charm to the Cali Roots stage this year. The Australia native has been on the rise recently thanks to her rise in internet fame with her Youtube videos. Sultana beautifully combines bluesy soulful riffs with her powerful, yet seductive voice in her solo act. She just released her first full length album Flow State in August and it is absolutely fantastic. Tash brings a wonderfully fresh blend of styles to her music and her live shows have been gaining renown. If she can be so captivating in her recordings, I can only imagine how she’ll be in person. Definitely not an act to miss!
Jo Mersa Marley
No reggae fest would be complete without a Marley descendant to continue the legacy of the great Bob Marley. This year we will be getting a performance from one of Bob’s grandson’s, Jo Mersa Marley. Jo is still pretty new to the music scene, with only a single EP and a few singles out, but his music still excites me. He is sticking largely to classical reggae styles but he puts his own modern flare to his music that makes it both fresh and interesting while also feeling familiar. The blood of Bob Marley definitely flows through this young man and I for one am excited to see what he can bring to the table.
Tickets and More Info:
California Roots Music Festival offers 3-Day General Admission as well as single day passes for any of the three days. If you’re looking for a more comfortable classy experience, there’s the VIP “Redwoods Passes.” Redwoods Passes are no longer available on their site but they do have an Official Ticket Exchange. 3-Day and Single-Day passes can be bought here. Limited passes are still available, so grab your passes ASAP! They are selling fast and I’m confident this will sell out. While the festival itself is not a camping festival, the organizers have partnered with Laguna Seca Recreation area. Laguna Seca offers festival goers the opportunity to camp at their grounds nearby. Booking for camping will be separate since it’s not directly through the festival, so click here to book your spot. In addition, California Roots will be offering shuttle bus passes for attendees who wish to utilize this option to get to-and-from the venue. So kick off your summer festival season right with the California Roots Music and Arts Festival!