Name: California Roots Festival
Location: Monterey Fairgrounds
Dates: May 23rd-25th 2014
Lineup: A collection of upcoming artist to legendary reggae rock bands.
Stages/Sound: Cali Roots opened up the main arena where legends: Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, The Clash, Peter Tosh, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Thelonious Monk and Simon and Garfunkel have all performed. Hoping for the same legendary feel, the Cali Roots loyal fans filled up “The Bowl” shoulder to shoulder, waiting for their favorite artist to perform. This year two of the stages had huge dual LED screens that covered the live atmosphere and performances, that were clear to see 100 yards out. The Bowl was also accommodated with two other stages for an all day experience. The Cali Roots stage (last years main stage) was shut down at sunset to cover the live performances on its own LED screens of the main acts at The Bowl. The Original stage had its upcoming bands and fans had the chance to vote for who they wanted to see for the last performance each night. The sound was the same as last year with the highs in stereo format, but they added the lows right in front of the stage for a more bassy club feel.
Greening: Just like last year Cali Roots pitches their event as a Zero-Waste event, but it didn’t seem like. Sure they had the recyclable bins every 10 yards and had vendors sell only compostable and recyclable food ware, but people treated the grounds like a house party and threw most waste where they felt like it.
Crowd: Most diverse event i’ve been to for this sold out festival. Since Cali Roots has gone international in its five year run, you felt an admiration for the diversity and culture Cali Roots brings. The all age festival was a trip to see because, whoever stood in the main crowd were bound to catch the contact high that was blazing through the winds.
Security: Cali Roots did a really good job this year with keeping the lines short and making sure you were in the the right place.
Food: The food was great as always. There were portable water fountains by the main walkways and plenty of Sierra Nevada stations, located in every corner in the fairgrounds.
Art: Every stage had two artist that would freestyle paint throughout the day. There were plenty of paintings being sold there as well. This year Cali Roots beefed up the fairgrounds with plants and trees to make it more of a tropical getaway.
Organization: All performances started within 5-10 minutes of the scheduled plan. Long lines for most popular foods and beer stations. Cali Roots stepped up their media coverage, with live streaming on youtube, live visuals on the LED screens, Press conference stations and a few booths to meet your favorite bands.
Camping: The camping continues to get better every year. This year they partnershipped with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca allowing the Cali Roots fans camp with Rv’s and pitched tents. They also provided shuttles from the Raceway and MPC’s (monterey’s community college) parking lot, to the festival.
Overall: California Roots Festival Music and Arts became the largest Reggae and Rock Festival of its kind for a reason. Always expanding with new artist to new visuals. With such a rich culture and diversity you feel right at home. This year I give it a 4 out of 5 stars because it the perfect Festival with a few too many people sneaking in.