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California Roots Reggae 2014

  • Written by  monterey herald
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The California Roots Presents people are bringing the good vibes back to Monterey this weekend with the Summer Mix Up: Back To The Roots music event on Saturday.

At this point I am all in with whatever comes down the pike from this group after attending May's epic California Roots Music & Arts Festival at the Monterey County Fair and Event Center. Of course it doesn't hurt that I love reggae music and most any of its fusion offshoots. I've got to admit I've been a fan and supporter of this presenting group since my days covering its many concerts and events in Santa Cruz, under the moniker Good Vibez, when I did the Cruzin' column.

For the all ages event Saturday, running from 1 to 11 p.m. at the fairgrounds, there is a strong focus on roots rock reggae, featuring Don Carlos, Israel Vibration, Yellowman, Mike Love and Stranger Band. As far as I'm aware, this is a one stage event, although similar to the vibe and with the activities that went on at the larger spring event.

Don Carlos, Israel Vibration and Yellowman are all Jamaican originals and bring with them the credibility and soul that distinction offers. They are elders in the tribe that has spread the gospel of reggae music throughout the world. Mike Love and Stranger Band are the two young acolytes, carrying the torch of the next generation with messages of love, peace and brotherhood.

I hope to see a bunch of you local reggae fans out at the fairgrounds. The early bird tickets have sold out, but the still reasonably priced general admission tix are still available for $35 plus ticketing fee at Eventbrite.


By now you should know that the weekend of Aug. 23-24 is an embarrassment of riches, with both the West End Celebration and the First City Festival concurrently offering a ton of great music at the crossroads of Sand City and Monterey. Last year I managed to circulate between both events without too much trouble, but that's not what I'm necessarily advocating anyone else do. But then again ... why not?

West End is free and open to all on Saturday and Sunday, with two main stages of music (plus a couple of smaller outlets around town) and multiple Sand City blocks filled with arts and crafts booths, food, fantasy and good friends. There is no way I would miss hanging out there because, honestly, I probably see more local creatives and good people there than I would for any amount of time I will spend at the First City Festival. So be sure to visit to get the full rundown. But also know that Jeannie Evers and I will be covering the festival here in GO! at length Aug. 21. And of course, don't forget the Aug. 22, 7 to 11 p.m. kick-off benefit concert at Carmel Stone Imports with Nina Storey, Casey Frazier and Dave Holodiloff. That's a great party not to be missed.

I'm still banging the drum for the First City Festival, though, because getting out to support this epic gathering of indie/alt rock bands and to mingle with mostly younger fans who love the music is important if we want to see it keep coming back. It is unfortunate that Goldenvoice has chosen these dates for the festival, what with West End going on. But there are reasons behind its continuing presence on these dates, mainly because of the inclusion of the carnival rides (this year included in the festival ticket price) that are put in place for the Monterey County Fair, which starts the week after First City.

With headliners Beck and The National, hopefully the festival will be able to draw a good crowd from outlying California locations. Other bands I'm excited to see include Dawes, a Los Angeles band I've had the pleasure to discover through Folk Yeah! concerts in Big Sur. I won't go into all my picks now because in next week's column I'll be dedicating the entire space to preview coverage of the festival. Meanwhile, visit to make your ticket purchase and to peruse the diverse lineup. General admission single and two day tickets are $79.75 to $159.50; VIP two-day tickets are $289.50, no fees.

I also want to send out kudos to the Monterey Scottish Games and Celtic Festival for a successful and fun event last weekend. I had the opportunity to check it out for the first time, and I found that I really enjoyed the British Isles-like atmosphere, with the varied music (especially Seamus Kennedy, who I really enjoyed), the herding dog demonstration with the very fit ducks who were kept on their toes by the Aussie Shepherd dog, and of course, the continuous sound of bagpipes in the air.

For more on what's going on this weekend in music and arts, visit

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