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California Roots Festival Highlights: Slideshow

California Roots Festival Highlights: Slideshow

Posted by: on Jun 25, 2013 | Comments (0)

Festival photos up! Click HERE to see photos from California Roots Music & Art Festival in Monterey, California. Many thanks to photographers Kathryn Gleason and James LeDeau.

Rebelution - photo by Kathryn Gleason

California Roots Festival Highlights: An Interview with Thrive

California Roots Festival Highlights: An Interview with Thrive

Posted by: on Jun 15, 2013 | Comments (0)

Thrive guitarist Aaron Borowitz. Photo by Kathryn Gleason

After several times trying to connect with Santa Cruz reggae rockers, Thrive, I had all but given up on our scheduled interview. It was Day 2 of Cali Roots and text messages aside, I figured there wasn’t much hope linking up with all the activity going on. Until that is, I ran into lead singer Aaron Borowitz hanging out backstage covered in a bunch of ladies.

Thrive has performed at every California Roots Music & Arts Festival since it’s inception. They have been representing their adopted Santa Cruz and now managed by festival co-producer Dan Sheehan, the band is touring non-stop. Thrive just dropped their new album Relentless, so I wanted to find out what its been like on the road.

Bohemian: Tell me about Cali Roots, are you enjoying yourself?
A.B.: Everyone has been really nice and everywhere I go people are smiling back at me.

How did you feel about your show?
Oh man, it was so awesome. That was one of the funnest shows I’ve ever played, personally. Not necessarily the musicality of it, but the vibe in the crowd.

Did you see a difference within the crowd? There are a lot of people up here from So Cal.
Yea, I see a difference in the people, but I see a connection in the message. It’s positive and everyone just wants to chill, no bad vibes, no fighting.

California Roots Festival Highlights: Tribal Seeds & Friends

Posted by: on Jun 13, 2013 | Comments (2)

San Diego reggae band Tribal Seeds are rising stars in the landscape of California roots music. They have sharp, inspiring verses, solid stage presence, and vocals that melt. Both lead singers, Steven Jacobo and newly added E.N. Young, have that hypnotic, echoing vocal style similar to Harrison Stafford of Groundation.

With so many one-dimensional skank rhythms tying up the airwaves, it’s refreshing to hear a band that embraces melodic bass lines and off-the-wall keys. E.N. Young’s melodica performances practically steal the show. As was the case at California Roots Music & Arts Festival along with bringing up Rebelution’s lead singer, Eric Rachmany, Adam Taylor from Iration, and Kyle McDonald, singer/guitarist for Slightly Stoopid to sing “Vampire”, all while smokin’ a giant spliff.

Tribal Seeds are touring nationally with Slightly Stoopid and Atmosphere this summer. They play the Greek Theater in Berkeley July 19th.

Ever heard of Bulldog Media from Windsor? You have now – and you’ll most likely hear a lot more of them in the coming year. With 15 Bulldog Media crew members at Cali Roots Fest 2013, they were by far the most influential media presence on the ground. Check this Day 2 compilation video from five different “Bulldog” angles during Tribal Seeds’ “Vampire”.

California Roots Festival Highlights: Day 1

California Roots Festival Highlights: Day 1

Posted by: on Jun 3, 2013 | Comments (0)

Like most up-and-coming writers, our day jobs often get in the way of multi-day festivals. We write all week to get in free, drowning at our crappy jobs to pay the way once we get there. We spend the entire weekend running between bands, posting iPhone photos to social media, and trying to finagle free meals. We do it for the love of live music. We do it because we wouldn’t have lives if we stayed home all weekend. So it was nothing new that a crisis at the office resulted in missing most of Friday. But rolling into Monterey County just after 9pm, I was able to park and get to will call before headliners, Rebelution, even took the stage. At least I’d made it for that.

Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law always lays it down in the most critical of situations. The girl in the ticket booth had no idea who I was, much less who the media organizers were. So there I was, with a line of pre-party-drunk VIP ticket holders waiting behind me while I frantically searched my emails for phone numbers. Thankfully, and one of many reasons why Moore Media shined all weekend, the head organizer returned my text to confirm we’d meet at the artist gate in five minutes. Sort of running along Fairgrounds Blvd., and without wanting to show up sweaty and out of breath, I paused for a few seconds to pull myself together. Luckily I had my two trusted travel partners, Jameson and his lady Ginger, who proved once again essential allies as I journeyed clear across the 20 acre property.

By the time I arrived at the gate, Rebelution was already on stage. Looking out on the crowd, there was no way I was gonna mash through nearly 10,000 fans already up against the railings. It was literally a sea of bouncing heads and puffs of smoke. Fortunately, for those who can afford it, music festivals have turned to offering VIP ticket holders access to backstage areas. For an extra $100, you can hang out with artists and media and stand in side-stage balcony boxes high over the crowds. It can be an awesome opportunity to enjoy the bands while keeping a drink in your hand, but nothing beats being smashed up against railings watching your favorite singer drip sweat down the mic cord. [Read more after the break]

Rebelution - Photo by James LeDeau Photography - www.facebook.com/jamesledeauphotography

Summer Festivals: California Roots Festival – SOLD OUT

Summer Festivals: California Roots Festival – SOLD OUT

Posted by: on May 23, 2013 | Comments (0)

Happening this weekend, (and officially SOLD OUT, although Craigslist and Facebook have got plenty of resales if you are inclined) the California Roots Music and Arts Festival has become the biggest thing to hit the tiny town of Monterey since the aquarium opened. The fest started out as a one-day show by a guy with a clothing brand. In just four years, producer Jeff Monser has nurtured Cali Roots into one of the most solid music gatherings on the West Coast. This isn’t roots music – this is pure Cali-style roots rock reggae with big names that include Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Matisyahu, and Katchafire plus 40 other bands. A live music feed is available on the Cali Roots website, so if you aren’t going it will be just as fun to crack a Pabst and sit around the apartment complex pool all weekend.

One of the really great trends in music festivals are their zero-waste efforts. Cali Roots is striving to become a zero-waste event by manning normal trash stations with volunteers. Instead of the barrels overflowing with mixed up garbage, staff with be educating concert-goers on how to separate organics and recyclables from landfill products. Monterey’s “Offset Project” works with vendors to provide only compostable and recyclable food ware and when the event is done, all food materials are locally processed and sent to vineyards and golf courses as compost. Good music, good deeds – we can smoke to that.

California Roots Festival, Friday May 24th – Sunday May 26th, Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairground Rd, Monterey. $50-$150, www.californiarootsfestival.com (no phone)