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One Love Cali Reggae Festival 2018

One Love Cali Reggae Festival 2018

One Love Cali Reggae Festival 2018

By on - Photos by Chris Yates - Comment

One Love Cali Reggae Fest highlights unity over divisionby.

The third annual One Love Cali Reggae Fest did not disappoint, with a star-studded lineup, selling out both show days. And just like the name of the festival, an all-inclusive, love-over-hate mentality was not only preached but practiced.

While this two-day event took place at the Queen Mary grounds in Long Beach, California, it did not just attract local reggae-influenced California rock bands.  There were an incredible mix of reggae styles — from sensational island reggae artists like The Green, Iration, and J Boog, to Jamaican reggae legends like The Original Wailers, King Yellowman, and Barrington Levy, to lyrical masters Atmosphere and Nas co-headlining Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The diversity of the talent was mirrored in the ethnic, spiritual, and cultural diversity of the crowd, and all were united under the messages of peace and love. Alexei Johnson, 27, who traveled from Scranton, Pennsylvania to be at the festival said, “Reggae for me represents peace and love, and that is a huge part of my life.  And I try to incorporate that in every aspect of my life that I do.”

With two stages consistently playing sets from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., there were many highlights and good vibes from the artists that left a positive impression on those fortunate to witness it.

Day 1
The opening day of One Love Cali Reggae Fest set the tone for the weekend with messages of peace and unity.

  • On the Flav Stage, Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, a local band from Hermosa Beach, California garnered a massive crowd full of loyal fans. Fans were pleased to hear their new hit single Frequency and their motto, Life is the mission and love is the message, set the mood for the entire weekend. Illuminate, their highly anticipated new album under Island Empire Records is set to drop in April.
  • On the main stage, J-Boog & Iration brought island reggae vibes to the crowd that even had the security guards groovin’ to the rhythms. J-Boog played several of his old hits, including Leaving with Me, as well as songs from his new album, Wash House Ting. Iration played their smash hit Time Bomb as well as tunes never played in front of a live audience.
  • Atmosphere and Rebelution, co-headliners, did not disappoint with each of their hour and a half long sets. The lyrical master Slug (Sean Daley of Atmosphere) took the crowd on a musical adventure paired with well-received comedic relief.  Rebelution brought the house down, attracting the largest crowd of the day (that inevitably translated into a three hour wait to be bussed out of the venue to the parking garages).

Day 2
Day two brought everything from an artist’s stage dive to fresh, young talent wowing the crowds.

  • Matisyahu, who has gone through both a physical and spiritual transformation, revisited his first live album Live at Stubb’s, almost 13 years since its creation. Playing songs that originally put Matisyahu on the map, the crowd could not help but reminisce on the nostalgia from when the world first heard these songs. The cherry on top? Matis surprised fans when he leaped almost 15 feet into the crowd and crowd surfed to end his set.
  • Landon McNamara, the 22-year-old world famous big wave surfer, model, and chart-topping singer played his new single, Loss for Words, in which he sang about the incredibly raw topics of school shootings and violence in our world. After his set began, there was a constant stream of interested festival-goers who inevitably left as fans.
  • On the main stage, Common Kings gave the most electrifying, energy-fused performance of the weekend that got everybody jumping on their feet and singing along to their hit anthems. If there was one performance that the audience was screaming for an encore, this was it.
  • Back on the Flav Stage, Sammy J, the Australian-born reggae artist, rendered an incredibly large crowd full of fans singing every word.  His interactive and soulful performance fused genres like reggae, soul, jazz, and ska into a mind-blowing performance topped with crowd eruption over his incredible range and signature scatting.  He performed his very personal and new hit Sleepwalker from his album under the same name.

There may be numerous reggae concerts and shows going on, but One Love Cali Reggae Fest seems to inspire us to translate our love for music into life-guiding principles.   From the lineup to the crowd, the musical blends of reggae and non-reggae tracks brought some much needed positivity and unity to the sold-out, packed house of fans.

Couldn’t make it to the show?  Check out the slideshow, highlighting some of the magical moments of the weekend.


Reproduction without permission of United Reggae and Chris Yates is prohibited.

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