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Find Your Festival: California Roots 

Wednesday, Mar 2 2016
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You don't have to be a reggae fan or even a stoner to enjoy California Roots Festival. Granted, reggae is featured prominently in the lineup and you'll probably encounter a few weed clouds, but the festival is broader and more inclusive than you'd expect. Last year, it branched out and added non-reggae acts like The Roots, Special Sauce, and Cypress Hill, and this year they've got Michael Franti and Spearhead, Atmosphere, and Amp Live, among others.

California Roots also invests heavily in the arts and the environment. Live onstage painting is a big part of most shows, and there's also fire dancing and an "art retreat" lounge, to boot. In terms of green stuff, organizers are committed to zero waste, meaning they recycle, use only foodware that is compostable, and organize teams of volunteers to do local waste clean-ups. There's also a free valet service for bicyclists and skateboarders. Oh, and California Roots even has its own beer: the Hoppy Roots IPA, created specially for the event by Sierra Nevada Brewing. Go figure.

For the last six years, California Roots has been held at the Monterey Fairgrounds, where, interestingly enough, Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire in 1967. With 13,000-plus daily attendees, it claims to be the largest reggae festival in the U.S. and many of the biggest names in the genre have made appearances at the event, like Damien Marley, Ziggy Marley, Slightly Stoopid, The Dirty Heads, and Tribal Seeds, to name a few.

So, do you have to wear red, yellow, and green clothing or baggy, crocheted beanies to attend this festival? No. But you will probably see a lot of other people doing so. Then again, you'll also see a lot of normal, non-irie folk there, too (some of whom don't even know what irie means).

So don't worry, braddah. With its emphasis on art and Mother Earth, California Roots is more of a wholesome, hippie party than a dreadlock convention.

WHERE: Monterey, CA

WHEN: May 27 - 29, 2016

TICKETS: $180.00

CAMPING: no

WEBSITE: Californiarootsfestival.com


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Jessie Schiewe

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