It seems like a dream but it’s true.
The 11th California Roots Music & Arts Festival returns in full force this Memorial Day weekend, May 26-29 at Monterey for an unprecedented four-day event featuring the best of reggae/ska/roots/hip-hop -Artistic to experience exhibition and event center. Tickets are available for most options with the exception of the four-day Redwood Pass Tier 3 and three-day Redwood Pass Tier 1, which are sold out. Other packages may sell out any day, so I’d like to remind you to book your tickets now at www.californiarootsfestival.com to buy.
Some of the great artists who will be performing on Thursday are Dirty Heads, Protoje feat. Lila Ike & Jazz Elisa, Stephen Marley, Alborosie, Fortunate Youth. On Friday – Rebelution, Chronixx, Atmosphere, Pepper. Saturday’s top 4 are Slightly Stoopid, Beenie Man, Stick Figure, Expendables. The conclusion of the festival on Sunday will be Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Sean Paul, Ice Cube, Sublime with Rome, Hirie. For the full lineup, visit the website.
Good news just came out that Cali Roots will be the first certified green festival in California. Certification took place in 2020, but both this year’s festival and 2021’s festival have been cut off from usual live event programs due to the pandemic, making this the year everyone celebrates and continues to the amazing track record of Greening activities can contribute The festival has developed.
“We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment by partnering with other like-minded organizations, making eco-friendly choices in the products we buy, promoting environmental awareness among our fans, employees and artists, and raising the bar for everyone year in our commitment to sustainability,” said Festival Operations Manager Amy Sheehan. “Without the support of our community and our fans, we would not be able to deliver these sustainable initiatives. We are happy to know that our festival-goers are supporting our eco-friendly choices for future generations.”
Festival partners for this year’s environmental initiatives include like-minded companies such as Blue Strike Environmental, California Green Business Network, Green Pedal Courier, Redwood Forest Foundation Inc (RFFI), REVERB, Save Our Shores, The Last Plastic Straw and TripZero.
Brooke Wright, program and strategy director for eco-innovation, worked with the festival and commented, “Prior to working with Dan (Sheehan, festival co-producer) and Amy, we had no standards for event producers or events in the California Green Business network. Cali Roots certification has helped us set the standards for what needs to be done during these gatherings. We are very excited to have Cali Roots as a partner to our program to help us develop the standards we will use for future events.”
With the introduction of the “Redwood Pass” over five years ago, the festival offers a unique VIP experience. In cooperation with the Redwood Forest Foundation Inc. (RFFI), two sequoia trees are planted for every VIP Redwood Pass sold. A successful endeavor that has resulted in over 7,400 redwoods being planted to date! Full details of what is being done to create such high standards for festival productions can be found on the festival website under the info pull down menu.
Last week I made it to the Golden State Theater twice to catch up with Valerie June and Don Felder. Both shows were amazing! Neither of them had anywhere near capacity, most participants went without a mask and nobody has to report the vaccination status anymore. Monterey County and State guidelines no longer require these COVID safety protocols. It’s all about your risk tolerance, but thankfully, Monterey County’s COVID numbers are very low right now.
The June gig was a refreshing change from the old acts who make up the majority of bookings at the time. What was new to me was her sweet energy and fun personality, and there was an upbeat note to the music in general. I would visit them again if I had the opportunity. Don Felder, one of the main members of The Eagles until his unfortunate breakup with the band, put on a great performance with his group. While he did bring some of his solo material, he mostly brought great renditions of classic Eagles songs, including “Witchy Woman” and “Hotel California,” among a few others.
Jim Messina performs on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., followed by Keb’ Mo’ on Friday at 8:00 p.m
I’m really looking forward to hearing Messina again. I last saw him with Kenny Loggins at the Esalen Institute 30th Anniversary concert in 1992, held in the beautiful cliff-edge location of Big Sur. Messina’s music history dates back to the LA scene and surf music before its heyday in the 1960s and ’70s. A singer, writer, guitarist, producer and engineer, Messina made a major contribution to the music of this era as a co-founder of the country rock band Poco, and as one half of Loggins & Messina. He has gone back and forth between producing others and creating his solo music, regrouping with some of his key collaborators from back then. A 2016 release entitled “In The Groove” is his latest recording. It should be a pleasure to hear him cover the full breadth of his amazing career. Tickets range from $35 to $60 plus fees and are available through www.goldenstatetheatre.com. For blues/folk musicians, Keb’ Mo’ tickets range from $49 to $79 plus fees.
A new local band called Lighthouse has a couple of gigs this week, Friday at Cuz’s Sportsman Bar 8pm-11pm and Saturday at The Urban Lounge 7pm-9pm. There is no entry fee at either location. Lighthouse is a trio of peninsular born and bred musicians, guitarist/vocalist Kyle Kovalik, bassist/vocalist Bob Langford and drummer/vocalist Erik Dormody. Dance tunes spanning a range of styles take center stage, fusing the boogie of ZZ Top with the twang of Dwight Yoakam and the smooth groove of Bonnie Raitt. They make songs from John Hiatt and Hal Ketchum catalogues. Gotta get out there and catch her on one of those crazy lonely nights, as the Eagles would say.
I didn’t get any press materials from the Pearl Hour folks over on Lighthouse Avenue in New Monterey, but I happened to get an announcement for music happening Thursday from 9-11pm with the band High Step Society. I like the aesthetic of Pearl Hour, sort of a vintage, upscale scene but of course with a hipster eye for the artsy and artisanal cocktails. A band like High Step Society fits in with this, a seven-piece formation that rethinks jazz with unorthodox arrangements and gives electronic music a touch of elegance.
The Eugene, Oregon group captures the spirit of the jazz age; the cats in the band are electronic music producers as well as trained jazz musicians. Led by spirited singer Betty Jaeger and dressed in slightly prettier clothes than if they came straight off the street, they treat their live shows as stylish affairs, where everyone is encouraged to dress their best and look classy whilst on the dance floor is sizzling. Sounds funny! Pearl Hour is at 214 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey, 21+, $10 admission.
Just a note for people who haven’t bought their tickets yet for the Boz Scaggs concerts at Carmel’s Sunset Center, June 1-2. June, 7:30 p.m. It looks like these shows will be sold out and there are still some tickets left for both nights, but not that many. Pricing comes in two tiers, $95 and $137 plus fees. Visit www.sunsetcenter.org if you are interested. You can also call the box office at 831-620-2048.