TVD Live Shots: Cali Vibes at Marina Green Park, 2/17 and 2/18

With nearly 50,000 fans in attendance over a glorious three-day weekend, concertgoers from around the world made the pilgrimage to Cali Vibes to bear witness to musical royalty such as Snoop Dogg, Jack Johnson, and Rebelution.

Seasoned with amazing food, tasty drinks, and near perfect weather, the festival skyrocketed to a whole new level in the heart of LBC courtesy of Silverback Music and Goldenvoice. From its humble beginnings in the shadow of the Queen Mary to its new home at Marina Green Park, Cali Vibes has quickly catapulted itself from a small regional reggae event to one of the premiere outdoor music festivals in the US. Take it from me, this is one event you will want to circle on your calendar for years to come.

I’ve been fortunate to attend the Cali Vibes festival (and its predecessor One Love) since its humble beginnings in the parking lot of The Observatory OC in Santa Ana back in 2016. It’s evolved greatly since that time and has quickly become one of the premiere music festivals in the US, regardless of genre. I’ve attended countless shows and festivals over the years, s0 it’s easy for me to validate the claim as I’ve been to the majority of these events nationwide. Silver Back Music and Goldenvoice pull out all the stops to ensure fans are treated to the very best Long Beach has to offer, and 2023 Cali Vibes was no exception.

As a Long Beach resident, I was a huge fan of moving the festival to Marina Green Park from Harry Bridges Memorial Park next to the Queen Mary. Parking is plentiful in downtown Long Beach and it’s a short walk down Pine St. to the festival entrance. With enhancements to online ticketing—along with a streamlined check in / security process—entry to the festival was a snap.

Once inside, Cali Vibes was laid out nicely and fans could easily wander between the three festival stages—The Vibes, The Greens, and Boomyard. In between the stages, there was a myriad of food and beverage options, water stations, and of course easy-access restrooms. Fans could also purchase their favorite band and Cali Vibe gear during set breaks in a convenient one-stop shopping alley.

I’ve never been one to shy away from good food or tasty drinks, and this year’s festival was no exception. Whether you are a practicing vegan or carnivore at heart, attendees had extensive options throughout the expansive grounds. Vegan Pizza, check. Corn dogs and tots, check. Micheladas, check. For many, it was simply overwhelming trying to decide whether to grab a Philly cheesesteak from Phillyfornia or a Vegan Dog from Bacon Nation (yeah—thought that too!). And unfortunately for many, they just couldn’t choose just one and sampled and shared along the way.

I’ve been to this festival many times over the years, and 2023’s lineup may have been one of the strongest I have seen to date. With over 80 bands across 3 stages on 3 consecutive days, there was something for everybody. While it’s nearly impossible to see every band in its entirety, most plan their own unique strategy to catch as many acts as they can on their own terms. Some will camp out on the rail for a chance to see up close and personal their favs—Rebelution, Jack Johnson, and of course Long Beach’s very own, Snoop Dogg.

Others I spoke with bounced back and forth between stages to try and catch partial sets from some of their favorites including 311, Cypress Hill, and Pepper. Finally, many were solely interested in special performances such as GRAMMY award winner Kabaka Pyramid, the Katastro Tribute for Andy J. Chaves, and the Lee “Scratch” Perry Memorial Set. Regardless of proclivity, there were more than enough vibes for everyone.

When the dust settled and the door closed on Cali Vibes 2023, most will probably agree that this year’s undertaking was incredible. I’d take it a step further and say that it was by far their best festival to date—and still growing stronger.




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