Long Beach was buzzing with excitement long before the gates to Cali Vibes opened at 12:00 PM on February 17th, 2023. Thanks to Silverback Music and The Nowell Family Foundation, the party started the night before at the local establishment, Gaslamp. Attendees were treated to pre-festival performances by Fayuca, Kyle Smith, Sensi Trails, Ras-1, Dan Kelly of Fortunate Youth, Perro Bravo, and Jakob Nowell playing with his new band, Jakob’s Castle.
The late-night pre-party did not stop morning risers from lining up hours early in anticipation of securing a spot on the rail for Tunnel Vision. Walking through aisles of vendors, you could overhear festival groups plotting the day’s schedule. The overlapping schedule of performances is a bittersweet variable as it allows for each day to be jam-packed with music but it does require fans to pick and choose which set to catch and which to forfeit.
The musical equivalent of a real “Sophie’s Choice”.
Little Stranger, BALLYHOO! and Artikal Sound System kicked off the mainstage with some seriously high-east-coast energy while Through The Roots and Kabaka Pyramid held it down on The Greens stage.
Clothing vendors such as Razafari Apparel and Crossed Heart Clothing maintained steady lines all weekend. Rumor has it that some exclusive Cali Vibes merch is going up on their websites soon so make sure to hit those links.
Arise Roots and Steel Pulse crushed their midday fest sets while Ozomatli alongside Chali 2na and Cut Chemist had the entire crowd doing the hokey pokey as they paraded through the throng. There is nothing quite like seeing a massive crowd of adults decked out in their festival finest “turning themselves about” in unison.
Cold drinks and delicious food we’re hugely sought after thanks to the warmth of that famous California sunshine. Shout out to Richies Hot Chicken, Streets of Vietnam, Surfer Tacos, Tripp Burgers, and so many more!
There was no sign of festival-goers slowing down though, and thankfully too since heavy hitters like Iya Terra, 311, Collie Buddz, and Stick Figure had everyone up and moving. Sister Nancy and Protoje reinforced their respective titles of chart-topping musicians with world-renowned stage presence.
Rebelution closed out the first night with hit after hit including the amazing light show that continues to leave fans in awe. However, Rebelution didn’t stop there. On the first night of Cali Vibes, fans were treated to a jaw dropping display of fireworks reminiscent of 4th of July! Reb has a tour coming up so if you missed them at Cali Vibes make sure to snag a ticket to one of the upcoming shows.
Can’t forget the DJs that crushed it on the Boomyard Stage: Hot Steppa, Nikki Z, Zach Jones, Mixmaster J, Blakkamore with Yungg Trip, Yaadcore with Rory Stone Love, Royal Blu, Los Rakas, and Jazzy T with Delano Renaissance.
Goldenvoice really outdid themselves this year! A huge thank you to the Goldenvoice team for bringing the vibes that kept thousands upon thousands of people smiling all weekend long.
Keep an eye out for our day 2 and day 3 coverage!
Photos by: Sean McCracken