Labor Day Weekend spanned four days this year for those lucky enough to spend it camping at the Dry Diggings Music Festival in Grass Valley, California. Thanks, Jeff Monser!
September 1st started with the arrival of campers ready to pitch tents and decorate campsites. Anticipation rose as quickly as the temperature that day! The excessive heat didn’t stop festival-goers from kicking the day off with California reggae band, Coast Tribe, though. Other reggae favorites for the day included Prezident Brown, Marlon Asher, Anthony B, Fortunate Youth, E.N Young and Pepper (with many joining other artists’ sets!!!).
Jamaican vocalist Prezident Brown hit us with a roots set that got the crowd moving. His energy was met with enthusiasm that only Marlon Asher — the “Ganja Farmer” himself — could cultivate! Anthony B, who took the stage next, jumped around the entire set as if it wasn’t 100°F out.
Fortunate Youth and Pepper then closed out the main stage.
Taking a quick break from their national tour with Common Kings and Slightly Stoopid, the two bands made sure that the first night of Dry Diggings went off with a bang! Fortunate Youth’s Dan Kelly, delivered his passion-heavy performance that fans have come to know and love. Multi-instrumentalists Greg Gelb, Travis “Travi Bongo” Walpole, brothers Jered and Corey Draskovich and drummer Revelation Kalaui met Kelly’s passion with electrifying energy that elevated the good vibes to a whole new level!
Fortunate Youth’s set was just what we all needed to get ready for Day One’s headliner, Pepper! Known to deliver a knock-you-on-your-ass performance, festival-goers were not disappointed. Being the hype band that they are, they welcomed Fortunate Youth’s Dan Kelly and Greg Gelb to join them during fan-favorite, “Ashes”. The two — alongside Pepper’s Kaleo Wassman, Bret Bollinger, Yesod Williams and touring member Jeff Nisen — spent the duration of the song clowning around and reminding us all how this community is a family. Joining Pepper later in the night was San Diego artist and music producer, E.N Young, who had closed out the Beach Hut Stage a little earlier in the night! Additional performances on Day One included Hunter, Xedous, El Dub and J Ras & the Higher Elevation. Of course, making sure the music never stopped were deejays Redlocks, Spleece, Sugar Bear, Treezdub Fyah, Green T, Jah Mikey One, Selectress Ay Que Linda, Squarefield Massive and Stay Positive Sound.
11 jaw-dropping performances later… and that was just Day One!
Photography by Jenna Shaw