By: Allie Adams of Bulldog Media
Yesterday was literally the best first day of a festival ever. There was so many smiling faces, both familiar and new. The vibes were high and the Summer of Love theme was everywhere, from the dressed up flower children to the loving energy that could be felt all around. The weather was a little on the cool side and the wind picked up pretty strong here and there, but the sun came out in the afternoon and it was glorious. Friday’s lineup included Passafire, Common Kings, Stick Figure, Rebelution, SOJA, Matisyahu, Zach Deputy, Synrgy, Skanks Roots Project, The Late Ones (who I hadn’t heard before, but absolutely crushed it), Beebs, Six60 and last but not least, Jesse Royal.
After our Bulldog team meeting at 8 am, I hopped on the shuttle and went to the Laguna Seca campground to check it out. These people are serious about festivals! Many came from out of state and one couple even road-tripped over 1600 miles from Canada to come to Cali Roots. That is dedication. We pulled up to the main gate and fans had already formed a long line anxiously anticipating entrance into the magical world of music.
Iya Terra did a meet-and-greet at Ashley Kidwell’s art booth and I talked to Nathan, Nick, Luis, Blake and Nick about wrapping up their first national tour supporting Fortunate Youth and how it feels to be playing Cali Roots, which is for many reggae bands, a holy grail. Their in-unison, one word answer? “Amazing!”
On my way to see Beebs, I stopped at the Hill Kid booth because Marley Williams (Rebelution bassist and Hill Kid founder) made an impromptu visit and obliged waiting fans with pictures and hugs.
I walked by the SLOGAN art booth and I couldn’t help but fawn over his detailed style that has become synonymous with California Roots. I jumped at the chance to talk to Shaun for a few minutes and I asked him what inspires him to create when he doesn’t feel like creating. He says, “Messing with people. It’s funny”.
Stick Figure played at 6:10 and they sounded amazing as usual. You know, I have lost count of how many times I’ve seen them live, yet every performance seems to get better and better. When Eric Rachmany (Rebelution vocals/guitar) came out to sing “Mind Block” with the guys, everyone was dancing with everyone and truly enjoying themselves. I even managed to capture Selena (Skavenge Art) in her zone as she live painted with them.
After Jesse Royal played at the low-key, intimate Original stage, I popped in to say hi to Kirk O’Hara aka Paint Mouth and see the painting he just started. I’m gone as quick as I came and almost run to hear Rebelution play the headlining set of the night. Their drummer, Wes, got a birthday shoutout and they played some classics as well as songs from their newest album.
Overall the mood of the day relaxed, it was filled with friendship and music and the best vibes you could ask for. Stay tuned for tomorrow for more music, festival fashion and behind the scenes footage of the official Cali Roots Summer of Love music video.