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FESTIVAL REVIEW: ONE LOVE FESTIVAL @ QUEEN MARY FESTIVAL GROUNDS, LONG BEACH, CA (02.10/11.18)

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On Saturday, February 10th and Sunday, February 11th, a sold-out crowd of over 10,000+ made their way to beautiful Long Beach, CA for the 3rd annual One Love Cali Reggae Festival.  As in years past, this year’s show was once again set up in the shadow of the historic Queen Mary and featured amazing food, cold beer, and killer music featuring the incredible reggae and hip-hop artists such as Rebulution, Nas, Stick Figure, and Matisyahu.  It was evident that the Observatory OC and as well as producers of this incredible festival spared no expense in ensuring that the musical lineup for this emerging annual festival was second to none. The unbelievable lineup spanned all genres of music including reggae, roots, hip-hop, and rock.  

 

The final line-up for the One Love Cali Reggae Fest - 2018 was as follows:

Day 1:  Rebeultion, Atmosphere, Iration, J-Boog, Pepper, Matisyahu, Fortunate Youth, Collie Budds, Twiddle, The Movement, Ballyhoo!, Josh Henrichs, Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, Jesse Royal, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Ooklah The Moc, The Holdup, Iya Terra, The Steppas, Brewfish, White Glove Service, Dubbest, and Johnny Love

Day 2:  Nas, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Iration, Stick Figure, Common Kings, Tribal Seeds, The Green, Matisyahu (Performing the Setlist from Live at Stubbs), Barrington Levy, Sammy Johnson, Landon McNamara, Yellowman, The Original Wailers, Hirie, Long Beach Dub Allstars, The Expanders, Nattali Rize, Mike Pinto, Arise Roots, Tyrone’s Jacket, For Peace Band, Jason J, Law, Chris Boomer, Thicker Than Thieves, Tunnel Vision and Roots of Mine

 

Although performances on Saturday and Sunday were for the most part solid, several of them stood out from the rest with incredible performances that challenged the mind and inspired the soul.  Here are a few of my favorites that took it to an “11” at One Love this year:

The Original Wailers – I am not sure why this band was slated mid-day on a secondary stage, but do know they absolutely kicked ass from the beginning to the end of their set.  And don’t take my word for it, ask the 1000’s of people who rushed over via tunnel and bridge from the main stage area to catch their show. These guys played some of their own songs (which were amazing) as well as classic covers from the Godfather himself, Mr. Bob Marley.  If you love reggae, this was the place to be on Sunday afternoon.  Well done!

Fortunate Youth – Hermosa Beach’s very own Fortunate Youth lit a powder keg on Saturday afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd and failed to disappoint their legions of loyal fans in attendance.  Dan Kelly’s energy was off the charts and had the crowd off their feet and rocking to jams such as “I Left My Love in California” and “No Place Above”.  And the chemistry that this band shares on stage was second to none.  You could tell this band played with a reckless abandon that took their show to a whole new level.  Looking forward to seeing Fortunate Youth’s continued ascent into reggae greatness, they are truly special!  

Tribal Seeds – Tribal Seeds brought it on Day Two with a performance so incredible it caused many to ask why this band was playing mid-day and not headlining Sunday’s show.  This seven-man band out of San Diego literally crushed their set with hits such “Aroma”, “Empress”, and “Youth Rebellion”.  The crowd outside of the Cali reggae fest Stage was at full capacity, and many fans had to resort to climbing up on fences or standing on tables to get a glimpse of this amazing band. Definitely a crowd pleaser in the heart of the LBC!

Matisyahu – I have never seen Matisyahu live and got an opportunity to see him perform twice at this year’s event.  Day One was more of a “Best of” performance and Day Two was a recreation of his 2010 performance at Stubb’s in Austin, TX.  All I can say after watching these performances is “WOW”!  Matisyahu’s ability to take incredible music and continually recreate it for his fans via improv is truly amazing. This once in a lifetime artist understands the importance of his message (and the impact it can have on the world around him) and ultimately brings it to life for his fans in amazing fashion.  Pound for pound the two best performances I experienced at One Love this year. “L'chaim!”

 

Overall, the One Love Cali Reggae Fest - 2018 (presented by The World Famous KROQ – 106.7) will probably go down as one of the most incredible Reggae festivals to take place outside of Jamaica in 2018.  Whether you were drinking amazing beer, indulging in tasty treats, or just chilling to some incredible live jams, there was something for everyone at this year’s festival.  If you were lucky enough to attend this year’s festivities, you probably walked away with some incredible memories that will last a lifetime (I sure did!)  For those who missed this year’s event, you’ll want to plan for 2019 to ensure you are front and center next February. I am sure it will be one for the ages!  Until next time,

Stay Frosty and Rock On! 

 

Matthew Belter

Editor - Long Beach

Website: iceboxphoto.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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