In true, Friday before the 3-day weekend fashion, my friend Crishna and I left the too cool for school, tech-inspired vibe in Silicon Valley for a mini-road trip. After what was supposed to be a 1.5 hour drive, 3 hours later, we arrived for Day 1 of the California Roots Festival in the charming and tiny town of Monterey.

I was amused by the juxtaposition of this area. As much as I’ve traveled, I know that even in a small town like this, you can always find the underbelly of the alternative, quirky, and “crazy” people that adds a touch of flavor. The flavor of this town is retreat getaway with a hint of the rastafarian/bohemian lifestyle.

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You would have to be open to the clues in this quaint town that a ginormous 3-day reggae festival was about to take place. No crazy amount of roads were blocked off or media frenzy in the streets, it was all contained to the fairgrounds.

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It’s a well-known fact that most music festivals are laced with recreational drugs and seeing that marijuana is very much legal here in California, the California Roots Festival held true to this stereotype. In fact, I have never seen so much weed, ahem, cannabis, in my life. I’m talking about the fattest of blunts, trays of the herb waiting to be rolled, vaped, and burned.

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There were bongs of all shapes, colors, and sizes everywhere I looked, for a moment there I got so dizzy (2nd hand high?) from all of the merchandise, I thought I was seeing dildos.

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It was just after 4pm on a Friday afternoon and the air was perfumed with cannabis and greasy festival food.

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We breezed through 1 of the 3 VIP areas, surpassed all of the vendors and chose to wait in line for shawarmas. We weren’t high, but we were hungry. The lady in front of us turned around and said “Are you a cannabis card-holding member?” I said, “A what?” She repeated herself and i said no. I know. From that moment forward, I knew that this festival was going to be lit! In every sense of the word.

The one membership I did belong to was the VIP so we caught an uber to go meet up with the social media manager at the Monterey Fairgrounds to get my VIP pass. While she jetted off to interview the performing artists, we took in the scenery of where we’ll be jammin’ for the next 3 days.

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I took a look at my VIP “photo” badge and was sorely disappointed that the legendary Barrington Levy had already performed earlier in the afternoon.

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I thought he was worthy of a Friday night close out or at least pretty close to it, but things are different around here.
So with that in mind, I figured I would go check out Slightly Stoopid at the other stage and see if they were worth being THE 1st night closing act. In the meantime, let’s go mingle with the people and see what it’s like to be parading the fair grounds amongst the elite cannabis card-holding members, ha!

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