Another one in the books! What a show. In this writers opinion, Cali Vibes has quickly become THE premium Reggae event in California.
Last year I thought the lineup was absolutely crazy. But this year may have actually topped it. It included names like Damian Marley, Steel Pulse, Protoje, Stephen Marley, J Boog, Collie Buddz, and even this years Grammy winner…Kabaka Pyramid. And that’s not even mentioning Lila Ike, Yaadcore, and one of my personal favorites Arise Roots in the mix as well. This all with the usual Califronia style reggae rock bands like Rebelution, Stick Figure, Soja, Pepper, Slightly Stoopid, and Dirty Heads among others. But add on top of that an increasingly common Hip Hop element. This years group included veterans Cypress Hill, Method Man and Redman, Warren G, and the headliner of all…Snoop Dogg.
I’m a Roots Reggae man at heart. But I can’t lie.. having these Hip Hop groups really does add to the overall vibe of the show. You could see the massive crowd absolutely eating up the performances. I overheard one fan saying “There’s just too many hits,” when watching Snoop’s set. And it really was true. True for all of them. As a young Hip Hop fan from the 90’s (and *cough* 80’s) all of these sets took me back. From Cypress Hill’s ‘Hits From The Bong’ to Method Man and Redman’s ‘Blackout’to Snoop’s ‘Gin and Juice’. He was right…just too many hits! And it was sweet bouncing to all of them with 10 thousand of my closest friends. What a vibe.
On top of that this massive show is well run. There were plenty of food options to enjoy. Plenty of places to catch some drinks and adult beverages too. The check-in process was VASTLY improved over last year. I rarely even saw much of a line for entry on all 3 days. That was great. My only criticism was the bathroom situation. They arranged nearly all of the General Admission port-o-potties in one big circle with one way in to the area. Which probably sounded great on paper. But when you are in the heat of the show and there are literally hundreds of people all trying to push through the one opening to then stand in line…somewhere…in a vast sea of people. Eh…not amazing. But to be fair…there were other areas to go if you had VIP or Beach Club access. Those were nearly empty most times I heard. So kudos there. But these are minor gripes in the big scheme of things. This is a huge show covering three stages and literally spread across city blocks. So if that was their only challenge, I’d say that’s pretty good.
There were massive screens on both major stages. Most people simply sat on the grass a ways back and still had a great view of the show. All while checking the Long Beach skyline just in the background. At night this was incredible! And one of the reasons this show is so dope to attend. You could literally be relaxing on the grass, watching the sunset over Downtown Long Beach, while watching one of your favorite bands on the big screen. Outstanding!
Here are a few highlights of some of the bands we caught. Hope you enjoy!
Impressions of the Cali Vibes Festival 2023.
Pictures by EyeRee Images for worldareggae.com