It's mid-summer in Northern California and reggae rhythms will once again be reverberating off Southern Humboldt's golden rolling hills. Arguably Humboldt County's most historic and world-renowned gathering centered around live music, this weekend's 28th annual Reggae on the River offers a “global music experience,” according to the festival's promoters at the Mateel. ”Featuring a lineup consisting of more than 30 classic and cutting-edge artists on two stages, the festival (at the Benbow Lake State Recreation Area) will celebrate Jamaica's 50th anniversary of independence from imperial rule and will honor this momentous occasion by presenting some of the island's best talent,” according to a news release.
With legends Toots and the Maytals -- who are often credited with coining the term “reggae” -- headlining on Saturday night, fans can let go of inhibitions to hits like “Pressure Drop” and “54-46. For a more in-depth look at Toots and the Maytals' world recently, check out a profile in the Tri-City Weekly's July 3 issue centered around the High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy -- a lineup in which they also headlined.
Saturday's Jamaica-jammed lineup in Benbow features the 'Maytals, Romain Virgo, Duane Stephenson, Junior Toots and Turbulence as well as Virgin Islands stars Bambu Station, the once-from-Humboldt Synrgy, Argentina's Alika and more.
Sunday's Jamaican-jubilee will boast sets from the likes of Fantan Mojah, Yami Bolo, Lady Saw and Daniel Bambaata Marley as well as Virgin Islands stars Midnite, England's Pato Banton and the Now Generation, Oregon's Indubious, Africa's Oliver Mtukudzi and Black Spirits, Tobago's Calypso Rose, Arcata's Juce and more.
A full lineup including schedules can be found at reggaeontheriver.com/lineup.
"Additionally, the event will host more than 80 craft, food and nonprofit vendors, a lively kid zone and a weekend full of happy reggae fun on the banks of the majestic Eel River,” according to the announcement.
Advance two-day passes are available for $110 online at reggaeontheriver.com and at Humboldt outlets like Redway Liquor, Fortuna Music Mart, The Works in Eureka, Missing Link and People's Records in Arcata as well as Main Street Music and the Head Room in Willits. A limited number of single-day passes will be available at the gate only for $60.
While some campgrounds are already sold out, campground reservations are currently available at Benbow Lake State Park and Cook's Valley Campgrounds.
”Benbow Lake Campground will be operated by the Mateel Community Center and will offer a quieter family camp option while Cooks Valley Campground will be the place to party late into the night,” organizers said.
More details on advance camping can be found online at reggaeontheriver.com/camping.
Shuttle services to the festival will be offered from nearby campgrounds, Redway, Garberville and Benbow.
Early planning is advisable for the festival as it usually is packed.
”It's going to be an incredible experience that, with your support, will send us off from Benbow in true Reggae on the River style and also set the stage for the festival's long-awaited return home to its original French's Camp venue in 2013.”
If you go
What: 28th annual Reggae on the River
When: Saturday and Sunday
Where: Benbow Lake State Recreation Area
Admission: $110 both days, $60 one-day (limited at gate), 21+
SOURCE: Times Standard