Heads of the Scene at Cali Vibes Fest
If you were to ask someone what musical artists best encapsulate the California vibe and music scene, you’d probably get answers like Snoop Dogg, Jack Johnson, Rebelution, Cypress Hill, Damian Marley, and Slightly Stoopid. If this sounds like the right kind of vibe for you, then you’ll definitely want to catch the next edition of the Cali Vibes Fest, which just wrapped up from February 17-19, 2023, at Marina Green Park in Long Beach.
There was no shortage of good vibes and grass, with the event bringing out a star-studded lineup of the biggest names in reggae, rock, and hip-hop. The picturesque Pacific Ocean was merely feet away from the event, with three stages and over 40 artists bringing a set list that had the crowd lighting up hot and heavy.
Cali Vibes is one of the most popular and prominent music festivals offering a different musical selection from the EDM and techno-heavy artist lineup at most other festivals. Their unique blend of reggae, rock, and hip-hop provides a different kind of experience, offering California’s trademark blend of smiling faces and welcoming strangers.
The Star-Studded Lineup
Cali Vibes fest is widely regarded as the ultimate hip-hop and reggae festival, and for good reason. Their lineup has always been the one to watch out for, featuring major stars that rarely perform all together at once. Some of the most memorable artists that played this year were:
Long Beach native and legendary OG of the Cali rap scene.
Method Man and Redman
Def Jam Recordings superstars, Method Man brought his Wu-Tang signature style to the forefront while the duo dropped some of their hottest beats.
Damien “Jr. Gong” Marley
While everyone would love to see Bob Marley back on stage, his youngest son puts on an amazing tool, with Stephen Marley present as well.
With over 20 million albums sold, prominent pro-Cannabis activist band Cypress Hill is one of the ultimate rap groups of all time.
Acoustic guitar legend and flip flop-wearing Jack Johnson, former professional surfer, encompasses a true Cali vibe like few others can.
Reggae group extraordinaire Rebelution exploded onto the music scene in the early 2000s from Isla Vista, composed of all UC Santa Barbara students. Anyone who’s been to Isla Vista knows that it’s the ultimate “Cali vibe” city.
San Diego superstars Slightly Stoopid achieved worldwide success with their signature blend of guitar-driven funk, rock, reggae, blues, and hip-hop.
Of course, there were plenty of other artists making a notable splash at Cali Vibes. One in particular was 62 year-old Sister Nancy, one of the most authentic and original Jamaican reggae artists of all time. She is widely recognized as a pioneer in her field and the first female dancehall DJ ever.
That’s the real secret to Cali Vibe’s success – the authentically star-powered lineups they manage to bring together every year.
A California Atmosphere in Long Beach
Nowhere else could you catch this many of the top reggae and hip-hop artists on stage together. Legendary rappers and reggae heads gathered together with veterans and newcomers alike, along with a wide range of other artists.
Although the weather was cooler than usual for California, hovering in the 60s during the day and cooling down as night fell, the crowd was laid-back, relaxed, and full of sun. From grassy picnics to a vendor’s street market, there was so much going on that the $300 ticket cost for the 3-day pass was a veritable steal.
Not surprisingly, the food selection focused largely on Caribbean and Jamaican specialties, like Sacramento-based Irie Jerk Chicken’s signature plate with a perfectly seasoned and roasted chicken paired with rice, beans, and fried plantain. Of course, more traditional festival foods were available as well, and drinks were flowing freely.
Still, the real treasure was found in the smiles, laughter, and love in the crowd. Nothing brings people together and gets them to let down their guard quite like this style of music, leading to friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.
Powerful Tributes to Andy Chaves
Alternative/Indie rock band Katastro played a special set in honor of their late member, rapper Andy Chaves, who died in a fatal car accident on the Pacific Coast Highway in 2022. They were joined on stage by several other performers, marking an emotional moment in a day otherwise filled with highs and euphoric scenes.
It was a reminder that, after all, life is precious and fleeting, and is something to be greatly treasured. Those in the crowd were enjoying their lives to the fullest, with sweet-smelling smoke mingling with the scent of roasted jerk chicken, and laughter and conversation rising over the dulcet tones of the reggae and rap superstars. If this Cali Vibe sounds right for you, then don’t miss it next year and be sure to buy your tickets early as they sell out fast!