Cali Roots 2022 came and went, and we are all the better for it. All the waiting, wishing, praying was worth it — just like we had faith it would be. Patience was a small price to pay for what we experienced Memorial Day Weekend and those hugs, smiles, laughs were the currency. Most of us are still basking in the warm post-festival afterglow and if you’re not, here’s our daily California Roots recap, starting with Day One to remind you.
If you see yourself, tag yourself in the comments!
It’s 10:30am on the most exciting Thursday anyone has seen in a long time. Vibes were high as a kite (as well as the already-mega-stoned guy waiting in line behind you) when the gates opened and festival-goers poured in; faces were awash with pure joy, with clear backpacks in hand, ready for the next four days ahead of them.
Eli-Mac opened the festival on the Bowl Stage, rocking the most badass over-the-knee boots ever and a headline-worthy set, followed by Kash’d Out on the Cali Roots Stage, where the hardest working band in show business played their newest single “Highway Robbery”. Tunnel Vision came after, who brought up Matt Appleton from Reel Big Fish to play the baritone sax! What a legend.
Next, Tropidelic had the whole Bowl pulsating to their own brand of Ohio-bred reggae, especially with their newly released single, “People Talk”. All this while Demarco, a legendary singer from Jamaica, literally got off the stage and walked into the crowd to slap high fives to everyone and stood up on the dividers!
After all the mayhem, DENM blessed us with the performance of a lifetime on the Cali Roots Stage.
Everyone sang along to all of his songs; you got a sense of how fanatical-in-a-good-way his devoted fans are and how much they love him. After his set ended, everyone rushed back to the Bowl Stage to see Hermosa Beach bad boys Fortunate Youth chop it up in typical South Bay fashion, complete with guest appearances from several six-foot-long inflatable doobies and everyone’s favorite giant joint roller, Ozzie Sanchez (aka, We Should Smoke).
Protoje had a super-set, which he split with his featured artists Lila Ike and Jaz Elise. Major divine feminine energy swirled on the Bowl Stage, as they spoke of knowing your value as a woman and not letting men treat you like shit. A crucial message for all.
Stephen Marley closed out the Cali Roots Stage for the night, with original favorites like “Hey Baby” and a few of his dad’s covers, like “Three Little Birds” and “Buffalo Soldier”. Marley’s mellow set was the much needed calm before the Dirty Heads storm and, as festival-goers headed back to the Bowl stage for the final time of Day One, the night air hummed with laughter and the Bowl was a constellation of weed smoke clouds, glow sticks and anticipation.
Dirty Heads finally made their appearance and brought the highest energy vibes possible, shaking the entire bowl through “Medusa” and putting on one of the best light and laser shows in reggae. The temperatures dropped into the mid-50s that night, but no one needed jackets. If you were watching the headlining set, you were dancing your heart out, sweating your makeup off and having the time of your life. Stay tuned for Day Two, Three and Four galleries to come!
Photography by Sean McCracken; Recap by Allie Adams