By: Brendan Clemente

On Thursday night we were standing outside our campground at Cali Roots, the air heavy with anticipation for the amazing weekend of music and friends ahead. We were laughing and chatting when KBong from Stick Figure drove in, smile as big as ever. He gave us a happy wave and drove on. Marley (the bassist from Rebelution) was with us, and he said,

“That is the most genuine smile I’ve ever seen someone wear – I think he’s the nicest and happiest person I’ve ever met.”

We all nodded in agreement, knowing how much love and happiness KBong brings to California Roots and the entire reggae scene in general with his contagious smile. Yesterday when Stick Figure played their set for an endless sea of people on the main stage, we shared in a huge collective smile as they played their song “Smiles On Faces”.

It was one of those moments where you wish you could freeze time and stay there forever. Looking around at the crowd 10,000 people strong and seeing everyone reflecting the enormous smiles of the band, the power of of what the California Roots movement has become was more apparent than ever.

When you have that many people together at one time sharing in a positive experience and enjoying life, it speaks to the greatness we’re capable of. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we can create something bigger than ourselves, and lose sight of the fact that something as simple as a smile, magnified, can create real positive change in the world.

It’s powerful moments like this that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Whenever things get stressful, or times get tough, I know I can go back to the beautiful feeling of sharing smiles with Stick Figure and the thousands of other people at California Roots.

Thank you Stick, Cali Roots, and all the other amazing bands and fans here for being a part of it all. I look forward to a gorgeous second day here, and hope to see everyone at Planet Gemini for the after-party KBong is playing tonight.