Mixed weather didn’t deter Cali Roots X attendees from enjoying the third and final day in Monterey to the fullest. With two days down, Day Three at the fairgrounds brought with it one of the most stacked lineups to date when it comes to reggae rock. The morning started off with The Elovaters’ high-energy set followed by the conscious raps of Xiuhtezcatl… only 19, yet so accomplished in music and environmental efforts. He even has a book under his belt! Reggae revivalist Kabaka Pyramid got on the legendary Bowl Stage, bringing roots vibes back to the weekend, before Dread Mar I took Rastafari agendas even farther. Jamaican artistry continued with Jesse Royal, a rising icon if there ever was one.
Collie Buddz personally ordered pizza for everyone, all 13,000+ festivalgoers, in order for all to enjoy the “Good Life” together.
Matisyahu played on the Cali Roots Stage midday, while Beebs (with players as colorful as her outfit), performed on the pop-up SMKFLWR Stage. Collie Buddz was up and next, a veteran to the festival. That said, no one suspected what the Bermuda man did next. As he pumped out hit after hit, VIP concertgoers and those in the front of GA could see a gathering of pizza box pillars, stacked sky-high, growing ever-larger in the right corner of the stage. Dominos pizzas were being carried in by the dozen to be dispersed to the crowd. Why had this feast arrived? Turns out Collie Buddz personally ordered pizza for everyone, all 13,000+ festivalgoers, in order for all to enjoy the “Good Life” together. As Collie Buddz burst into song, pizza boxes floated atop a sea of people; it’s hard to describe the humanitarianism at that moment. You would expect those in the front to bogart the boxes for themselves — first come, first served. Yet, those in the front refused to take any until the very back of the Bowl had their fair share. There really was enough for everybody, making greed irrelevant. A truly remarkable sight.
It’s hard to upstage Collie Buddz after that although Alborosie’s flying dreads weaving around his stage was certainly up there. Johnny Cosmic (of Stick Figure) was greeted by familiar faces at his pop-up, singing his own originals and covers of Elvis songs. The rain began to pour as Nahko and Medicine for the People’s set got underway at The Bowl, standing as a cathartic metaphor for their performance that night. Nahko moves people to tears, traveling into the crowd as he sings to meet his fans face-to-face. Switching up the scene was Cypress Hill, with a special lead-in from Mix Master Mike on the turntables! Fans rapped along every word to Black Sunday as the group performed it in full. Before headliners took The Bowl to bring the weekend to an end, birthday boy Kyle Smith teamed up with solo artist Brendan Clemente to play an acoustic set in the rain. Then, all there was left were two groups who started it all 10 years ago, SOJA and Rebelution. Joining SOJA were Xiuhtezcatl and HIRIE, two unexpected twists, before Reb and their brilliant lights took the stage. The Cali Roots crew did a special announcement before Rebelution, thanking all who has contributed to the CR history over the past decade. Cheers to 10 more years! Rebelution, always a highlight, performed to uproarious applause and support before CRX wrapped for good. How can this be topped? We’ll just have to wait for Announcement One of 2020.
Photography by Sean McCracken, Gia Krietzberg and Kristy Rose