MONTEREY, CA* – After two days of the California Roots Festival, fans might have thought they had seen all that was possible to see in one holiday weekend, but they were pleasantly surprised when Day 3 turned out to be a conclusion they will not soon forget.
The festival lineup had saved the legends of reggae and rock for the last day. Longtime acts Pepper and 311 sat down in the conference room with us, while mega-performers Ziggy Marley (who was the spitting image of Bob Marley on stage), Damien Marley, The Green, Skunk Records, and Groundation rocked audiences throughout the fairgrounds.
Pepper spoke about last year’s self-titled album and promoted their anticipated summer tour with two other Cali Roots alumni, The Dirty Heads and Aer (one of the youngest bands on the line up for Day 2). “It’s a family festival,” said vocalist Kaleo Wassman, pointing to the bonding experience between festival staff, performers, and attendees.
Similarly, 311 members Nick Hexum and Aaron “P-Nut” Wills also detailed their recently released album, Stereolithic, and are gearing up for a tour this summer to promote it. As one of the bands with the longest lifespan, we wondered how they kept their feet on the ground. They didn’t have an explanation, either. “We are so blessed to do this,” Hexum mused, recalling that they weren’t here because they are entitled to be, but because of the great fan base that keeps inviting them back to play stages around the country.
Groundation lead singer Harrison Stafford also joined us in the conference room and enlightened us about reggae’s generational quality — it appeals to all age groups. “Children can’t be the future without the knowledge from the elders,” he offered as an explanation.
Later in the evening, closing-act Damien Marley blew up the Bowl stage. The only performer to be over 15 minutes late, anxiety had spread across the fairgrounds. But just when some fans, worn from the day, were about to give up, the stage lit promisingly and Marley appeared, blasting the crowd with fan favorites like “Make It Bun Dem” and “Welcome to Jamrock”.
Fans left the fairgrounds with us, stupefied at the realization that the weekend was already over. Here are our photos from Day 3, and if you missed out, Livermore Reggae Nights on June 12th is a respectable mini festival hosted by California Roots occuring next weekend.
*This summer, The B-Side reports from locations worldwide including Berlin, London, Los Angeles, and Toronto.