California Roots 2024: Day Three

The 13th Annual California Roots Music & Arts Festival came to a close on Sunday, May 26th at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. To kick off Day Three on the Cali Roots Stage was DMP (aka, Doorman’s Project), direct from the Solomon Islands. Island vibes were high with DMP, who proved to us just why they are regarded as the number one reggae act in the Pacific Islands right now with songs like, “Baby, Can I Hold You”, “Wine Up”, and “Balinda”.

Coyote Island was up next on the Bowl Stage (aka, Mike O’Hehir). The Maine-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer played feel-good songs such as “Everyone Need Love” and “River”, as well as the single that started it all — “Here Before”.

Keeping the good vibes going was Artikal Sound System next on the Cali Roots Stage.

I’m ashamed to say that, until now, I’ve never seen this amazing band live; that’s a shame on me, because Artikal Sound System played what very well could have been a headlining set. Lead singer Logan Rex owned the stage and, like a tiger looking for prey, Rex made sure all eyes were on her, not stopping until the whole lawn was an A.S.S. party. This hypnotic set had me wondering why there weren’t more female-fronted bands playing Cali Roots this year….? Both Claire Wright and Artikal Sound System killed their sets and were — hands down — among my top five sets of the weekend. #GirlPower 

Little Stranger — reminding me of Kottonmouth Kings, blending hip hop with acoustic reggae while rapping about partying and getting high — was up on the Bowl Stage. Needless to say everyone lit up to the chill beats, melodies, and rhymes. Going back to the islands was The Green across the way, bringing the aloha spirit straight from the O’ahu. Lead singer Caleb Keolanui sang with a contagious smile that spread throughout the crowd. Collie Buddz kept smiles on faces next up on the Bowl Stage, keeping his tradition of buying hundreds of Domino’s pizzas and passing them out to happy festival-goers during his set. The Cali Roots Stage next welcomed Lupe Fiasco, followed by none other than Ice Cube on the Bowl Stage. Ice Cube had everyone’s hands in the air, turning things from a pizza party to a West Coast party, playing all the classics.

Ice Cube’s pyroclastic flow proves why there “ain’t no party like a West Coast party”. 

Pepper was next on the Cali Roots Stage, with an energetic set during the early evening hours. Still going strong since 1997, Pepper is a band that never disappoints and the energy between vocalist/guitarist Kaleo Wassman and vocalist/bassist Bret Bollinger is parallel to none. Pepper always gives it their all in every performance; they are such a fun band to experience live. If you haven’t seen Pepper yet, what are you waiting for?

Rebelution brought the 13th year of California Roots Music & Arts Festival to a close on the historic Bowl Stage, the same stage of the Monterey Pop Festival that Jimi Hendrix iconically burned his guitar back in 1967. Rebelution skyrocketed out with their song “Sky Is The Limit”, proceeding with a production that included jaw-dropping lasers, projections, and an all-around stellar light show. What a way to close out an amazing weekend of good vibes and good music surrounded by good people! Thank you, Cali Roots, and see you next year!

Photography by Katey Schoenberger and Sean McCracken; recap by Katey Schoenberger

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