Dry Diggings Music and Arts Festival truly stepped up their game for 2019. With an expanded three-day lineup, new activities and a fresh sound, the festival truly set the bar on patron experience. Upon arriving to Dry Diggings, there was an excitement in the air as patrons of the event set up their camps and guests filed in for the first day. As guests got settled, Bay Area favorite CRSB opened the festival, getting the crowd going with their island-influenced hip hop. To follow was LAW Records’ own Kash’d Out from Florida, rocking the stage as they played old favorites and new songs like, “Good At Getting By” and “Weed Man” off of their new album, Undercover.
As the day warmed up, we took a walk around to visit vendors. Fan favorites such as Support Local Reggae, Free Up Clothing, Uplift Apparel and George Utrillo Art were present yet again at the annual event, as well as many new additions! Dancing throughout Day One to bands like Fia, Ballyhoo!, Passafire and Josh Heinrichs (featuring Eureka Sound) got us hyped up for what would be an awesome night. Headlining the night was HIRIE and Fortunate Youth. HIRIE played songs like “She Go”, “I’m Messed Up” and “Message in a Bottle” off her newest album Dreamer, which premiered on all major platforms just a couple days ago! Fortunate Youth hit the stage and played hits like “Burn One”, “Sweet Sensi”, “Sweet Love” and other popular favorites as they played into the night. The stage filled with smoke as Fortunate Youth invited members of HIRIE, Passafire, Josh Heinrichs, etc. for an all-star jam session to the delight of show-goers. Not to mention, a happy couple in the crowd got engaged onstage! Love was in the air!
…there was an excitement in the air as patrons of the event set up their camps and guests filed in for the first day.
After awaking Day Two, we went and checked out some of the awesome activities available at Dry Diggings. We stopped by the social club for Mimosa Mornings, where we got to catch up with some of the campers and ask about their experience. One patron, Jenny, said that she had attended Dry Diggings for the last five years — since the beginning — and had enjoyed seeing the festival grow. New additions like Mimosa Mornings keeps her interest and support of the event. She also mentioned that she appreciates the festival because of its family-friendly atmosphere and the fact that she could drink mimosas while her son participated in the skate competition. Skate competition you ask? Yes! Dry Diggings has something for everyone! On Saturday and Sunday late mornings, Dry Diggings held the annual Gold Pan Jam. The Gold Pan Jam is an all-ages, all-class division skate competition at the festival, giving participants a chance at awesome prizes, like dope merch, music and skate gear!
Day Two featured Bumpin’ Uglies, Of Good Nature and Iya Terra to start. Iya Terra rocked our faces with their experimental reggae, featuring dope metal riffs. They played many songs off of their new album, Coming to Light, such as, “Carry The Weight”, “Many Rhythms, One Sound” and this reporter’s personal favorite, “Tried And True”. The rest of the day featured greats, like Katchafire, Xavier Rudd, Tribal Seeds and, to close the night, legends Slightly Stoopid.
Day Three arrived at the festival with a bittersweet sentient, as the festival was coming to a close. That day, we had seen two awesome activities advertised that we just had to check out: a ‘Sound Bath Meditation’ and ‘Yo-Ganja’, a ganja themed yoga session. First, we arrived at the yoga session where we were greeted by D.J., who runs Yoga by D.J. in Placerville, CA. She incorporated CBD oils and cannabis vape pens into the morning practice. After a great session with D.J., I headed to the Sound Bath Meditation. Now, this was something I was excited to check out, as I had never seen or heard of anything like this offered at a music festival. I entered the space and was greeted by Elizabeth Sage, who is a somatic (sound) therapist and owner of Sage Serenity in Livermore, CA. As I stayed and watched, I saw the use of chimes, native flutes, hymes, etc. were used to bring participants into a deep meditative state and achieve deep healing, as well as an overall relaxed state of being. I felt so calm and relaxed that I could take a nap right there on the spot!
Day Three of music started out with Sacramento favorite Arden Park Roots and after, with a quick lineup change, was Protoje from Jamaica, who changed his set time to beat a literal hurricane home! To follow, was progressive reggae-rock band Dub Trio, featuring former members of Matisyahu. The all-instrumental band melted our faces while we were melting in the midday sun! But, that didn’t stop the crowd from head-banging and even moshing to the progressive sound. This reporter would say that Dub Trio was the most unique band on the lineup and we would love to see more reggae bands experimenting with metal and hard rock like they do. Collie Buddz hit the stage playing songs like “What A Feeling”, “Come Around” and “Love and Reggae”. Fans sang along to every word as the dancehall singer brought his family onstage to sing and dance! Collie Buddz’s daughter got the ground moving as she guided our arms from left to right. It was so wonderful to see him bring his family onstage and really set the tone for the family-friendly atmosphere of Dry Diggings.
Steel Pulse set the bar for professional musicianship, as the crowd experienced 45 years worth of music in one hour.
To close out the night was The Green, longtime legends Steel Pulse and new school legends Rebelution. Steel Pulse set the bar for professional musicianship, as the crowd experienced 45 years worth of music in one hour. I have never seen men of that age move and sing the way these guys did and I have seen Pink Floyd and Iron Maiden in their recent years. Steel Pulse played renowned songs like “Stepping Out”, “Your House”, “Roller Skates” and more. They got the crowd ready for the final act of the weekend, Rebelution. Reb played an hour-long set, with “Inhale Exhale”, “Sky’s The Limit” and more. My personal favorite of the night was the band’s performance of “Fade Away”, which brought many in the crowd to tears… such a strong vibe to the close the weekend.
Dry Diggings is a well-rounded, well-planned and orchestrated event. From the VIP catering to the new activities to seeing bands new and old on the lineup, we cannot wait to see what Dry Diggings 6 in 2020 will be! Special thanks to Cali Roots Presents for always bringing the Top Shelf team to cover their great events!
Photography by Sean McCracken