It was the Good Vibes Music Festival in Lake Elsinore, California for the weekend of President’s Day, and the California weather was sunny and hot for a day in February. Still, the prospect of positive vibes was set for this Cali’ day as vendors aligned the entrance and pathway toward the main stage which included an enormous stage stacked with vertical speakers and live footage of the bands provided on two video boards on each side of the stage! Shots of the audience, bands, and vendor logos would also be on display for the entire weekend! The lake was next door, but gated off and seemingly only available to the VIP crowd; yet, if one had camped at the festival, one would have found a way toward the lakeshores! Lake Elsinore is somewhat of a hidden valley equipped with a declining lake which includes a well-maintained campsite where Top Shelf Reggae was stationed for the weekend! This festival was one of Southern California’s first music festivals with the option-to-camp, and carried well-intended vibes with it, but was left with many spots to fill!
Saturday started with reggae music from Ital Vibes, The Simpkin Project, The Expanders, and Marlon Asher. Ital Vibes, The Simpkin Project and The Expanders are Southern California bands from the Los Angeles area, and Marlon Asher is a well-known artist in the reggae scene. The next few bands included Common Sense, Fortunate Youth, and Tribal Seeds– more reggae-inspired bands from California! Common Sense was unique in their performance in not only playing for years and having quite a vocal range, and playing such quirky songs as “Poundy Pound,” but they volunteer for SurfersHealing.Org which helps autistic children learn how to surf and utilize the sport for comfort and experience! In fact, the band had a young man by the name of Isaiah come on stage to sing with the lead singer, Nicholas Hernandez, who has worked with Isaiah for about six years. Both men sang a song about being strong, and standing firm, and raised awareness of the fact that proceeds from the Good Vibes Music Festival went to such organizations as Rock The Autism- meaning, although the festival was quite pricey, it had good intentions tied to it!
Saturday night ended with a performance by Sean Kingston, and the crowd had grown and cheered loudly for this well-known MC from the Los Angeles area with roots from Kingston, Jamaica. The only heart-breaking part about watching this celebrity leave the festival as quick as he came in was when a VIP-paying family with a little girl of about seven years old cried over not getting Kingston’s autograph, and her mom, who is from England, telling her they have gotten autographs by better people! Perhaps that is still a Hollywood, celebrity trait, but this family let it be known they were not impressed with the California music scene!
The nighttime sky was amazing
The night was done by 10PM, and choices included getting a room by the lake, going home, or camping. Top Shelf Reggae spent the night on campgrounds which were arranged by stalls, and separated by tall green bushes. Each stall included a fire pit and table-bench, and Top Shelf Reggae was able to find buddies from The Simpkin Project and On Point Promotions, a San Diego based music-promotional company. The nighttime sky was amazing, the air wasn’t too cold, and music continued to play on! Camping had commenced until noontime Sunday for even more live-music!
Sunday brought with it a slow start, and one must wonder if it was due to the price of the event, its promotional outreach, or the time the event took place! No matter what reason, the festival continued, and more bands were set to fill the lake with more music for the second day, including hip-hop music by such groups as Tha Dogg Pound and E40.
Top Shelf Reggae caught Iya Terra and Ezzrah starting the Sunday lineup, and both bands had a nice brunch sound! Both bands had good energy, and played modern reggae-rock music. Other notable bands were Mystic Roots, Krooked Treez, Tribal Theory, and New Kingston. Krooked Treez has a unique sound with hard-rock music and two vocalists whom MC with a reggae-rock tone. They’re music is very upbeat and relatable! Although Irie Love, a singer given that name by birth is a beautiful, soulful singer, she appeared to have brought the beat down with her romantic island-reggae songs. Though beautifully harmonized, Irie Love’s performance was not well-received as the crowd stayed mostly quiet. Tribal Theory, however, a band from San Diego, California brought more crowd and support with their reggae/hip-hop as they played such songs as “Long Way Home,” “Move Your Body,” and “Stuck In The Middle.” Tribal Theory often seems to have great support from a crowd who loves their music- specifically from Islanders!
New Kingston and Spawnbreezie helped to pump up the evening crowd
New Kingston and Spawnbreezie helped to pump up the evening crowd with their reggae sound too, but it was really the Westcoast Pop Lockers that pumped the crowd for the upcoming hip-hop performances! These guys “popped” to music provided by a DJ, but won the crowd over with their moves and sense of humor. The group consisted of five guys dressed in white taking turns to break-dance and “pop” moves- a form of hip-hop dance. They threw off the crowd when they popped to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton, but it was all in good humor!
The Good Vibes Festival ended the night with special guest Eric Bellinger, a recognized song writer; although, Bellinger didn’t seem to suffice to the hype surrounding the festival’s announced special guest feature! Nevertheless, the hip-hop crowd was there to welcome Tha Dogg Pound, and E40. Kurupt came out and MC’d to various tracks associated with Death Row Records, such as songs from The Chronic 2001 by Dr. Dre, and songs by the late Nate Dogg. Kurupt was actually given a jeweled chain at the end of his performance in honor of his contribution toward rap music, and seemed to gain the most feedback too! Afterward, E40 came out and threw down more hip-hop vocals with the crowd showing strong support for this well-known rapper! People ranging from young to old, Islanders to hip-hop showed up to support this weekend full of music, and though it was mixed with reggae rock and hip-hop, it helped to unify diversity by bringing all kinds of music fans together.
It was a slow start to The 1st Annual Good Vibes Music Festival by the Lake in Lake Elsinore, but the setup and potential were phenomenal in attracting music fans of all kinds—particularly that which goes well with camping- which can range from reggae to rock, and other kinds of music found at various festivals from around the world! Indeed, the music scene still honors well-crafted festivals, and the more effort that goes into making these events comfortable and successful for fans, vendors, and everyone whom contributes in some way to it will surely fuel up more of its kind in numerous regions- whether these festivals include the option to camp, or not!
Photo credits Jenny Martinez