Bringing us a diverse selection of reggae, hip hop, folk, and rock, California Roots was sweet music to our ears, and nourishment to our souls. Walking in one can feel this is not your typical festival vibes. The mood is mellow. Everyone is lounging and taking in the warmth of the lovely California sun while bathing in thought provoking, booty shaking melodies. The Monterey County Fairgrounds was the place to be this Memorial weekend and it was here just 50 years ago the Monterey International Pop Festival was held, where greats such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding first burst onto the music scene and forever changed the game.
Fast Forward to 2017 and we are in Monterey, California, catching the feel good vibes of Rebelution, SOJA, Jurassic 5, Nas, Dirty Heads, Thievery Corporation, Nahko and Medicine For The People, Rising Appalachia, Matisyahu, Collie Buddz and more.
Our lives were changed after witnessing the power of Nahko and Medicine For The People’s set. I was moved to tears, thinking how amazing it is to finally have a Native voice in the music scene, bringing to light Native and environmental issues, while at the same time blessing our ears with beautiful melodies. A powerful performance reminding us to care for one another, and stand up for what is right. The whole crowd was feeling it.
Rising Appalachia brought their Southern roots, and unique sounds of folk, spoken word, banjo, double bass, and drum, all the while bringing political, social, and environmental awareness to the crowd. What we can learn from both Nahko and Rising Appalachia’s performances, is that one thing remains certain- Be the change you wish to see, but have a bad ass time while doing so. Find your medicine and use it.
What stuck with me the most was the green efforts Cali Roots strived for this year! This year Cali Roots blessed festival goers with the Offset Project, with a goal in mind to create a zero-waste experience. Vendors were asked to only use compostable or recyclable food ware, with volunteers nearby to help attendees separate their waste. In its fifth year, Cali Roots partnered with Reverb (a non-profit working toward environmental and social causes with musicians and their fans) to bring us FREE filtered water refill stations set up throughout the festival grounds. Also offered were re-usable festival Nalgene water bottles with this year’s lineup on them. An incredible effort to completely eliminate single-use water bottles How rad is that? We are hoping other festivals follow in Cali Root’s footsteps. Thanks for the incredible music, vibes and powerful message, Cali Roots– until next year!