TVD Live Shots:
One Love Cali Reggae Festival, 2/8–2/10

A sold-out crowd of over 25,000+ made their way to beautiful Long Beach, California for one of the largest reggae gatherings in 2019, the 4th annual One Love Cali Reggae Festival. As in years past, the show was presented by The World Famous KROQ and was set up in the massive shadow of the historic Queen Mary.

This year’s festival featured some amazing food, ice cold beer, and killer music featuring some incredibly talented reggae artists. World-class performances by Rebelution, Slightly Stoopid, and Sublime with Rome headlined the now three-day event and showcased why the One Love Cali Reggae Festival is quickly becoming the standard for reggae festivals worldwide.

On stage at this year’s festival were over 50 top-shelf acts spanning rock, rap, roots, and of course reggae. Each graced the Koi CBD and SMKFLWR Stages with brilliant music that calmed the mind and inspired the soul for the thousands in attendance. Aside from a few sound issues on day one, a handful of these performances separated themselves from the others in ways that literally blew my mind. Here are a few of my favorite performances from this year’s One Love Festival:

Long Beach Dub All-Stars | Living in Long Beach, this band is near and dear to my heart and was a “must-see” at this year’s festival. To say that they set the place “a-blaze” in front of a home town crowd would be an understatement. Their set included some beloved classics, new tracks, and was definitely a crowd pleaser in the heart of the LBC.

Don Carlos | I am not sure why he was slated for a mid-day performance as Don Carlos’s set was incredible. This guy embodies the reggae culture, and it was on full display for thousands to see up close and personal. And don’t take my word for it, ask the 1000s of people who rushed over via tunnel and bridge from the secondary stage to catch Don Carlos’s performance. It was straight fire.

Iya Terra | LA’s very own lit a powder keg in front of a standing-room only crowd and did not disappoint their legions of fans in attendance. Nathan Feinstein’s vocals were rock solid and the band’s overall chemistry was second to none. Iya Terra played with a reckless abandon that took their set to a whole new level. I am looking forward to seeing their continued ascent into reggae greatness.

Matisyahu | I have seen Matisyahu perform live numerous times over the years and but this performance was brilliant. His ability to take incredibly meaningful 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 ultimately brings it to life in unique ways that help him stand out from the crowd. Pound for pound, Matisyahu was one of my favorite performances across the entire three-day event.

Pepper | If you love good reggae mixed in with a solid rock vibe, then Pepper would have been your band of choice on Saturday night. The three-piece out of Kona, HI has been a driving force in the reggae movement for years and continues to get better with age. Pepper cranked it to an “11” and dialed in a performance so incredible it caused many to ask why they weren’t headlining the show. With the general admission area at full-capacity, many fans had to resort to climbing up on fences or standing on tables to get a glimpse of their show. And regardless of your vantage point, you walked away from Pepper’s set smiling from ear to ear. This one rocked.

This year’s One Love Cali Reggae Fest will certainly go down as one of the most incredible reggae festivals to take place worldwide in 2019. Whether you were drinking local craft beer, indulging in tasty treats, or just chilling to some incredible live jams in Sunday’s pouring rain, there was something for everyone who attended One Love this year.

Expanding the festival to three days put an exclamation point on what had already proven successful and allowed a slew of smaller, lesser-known bands to perform. Their fire and energy are the lifeblood of reggae culture and their presence made all the difference at this year’s festival. That said, I’m already looking forward to next year’s event, and expect that Goldenvoice will take One Love Cali Reggae Festival to a whole new level in 2020!

BALLYHOO

DON CARLOS

ITAL VIBES

IYA TERRA

THE SLACKERS

LONG BEACH DUB ALLSTARS

MAD CADDIES

MATISYAHU

MIKE PINTO

PACIFIC DUB

PEPPER

STICK FIGURE

THE EXPANDERS

THE EXPENDABLES

THE MOVEMENT

TOMORROWS BAD SEEDS

TRIBAL SEEDS

ONE LOVE CALI REGGAE FESTIVAL 2019

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