Report: Cali Vibes Fest 2022, CA. Part 1

Impressions of the Cali Vibes Fest 2022. Held at Marina Green Park in Long Beach, California Feb 4th – 6th, 2022. With performances by Pacific Dub, Nattali Rize, Eli Mac, Katastro, Ethan Tucker, Dirty Heads, Hirie, Iya Terra, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Pepper, Sublime, and The Wu-Tang Clan.

by Todd Judd for

Walking to the venue for Cali Vibes I was getting very nervous, I have never gone to a music festival this large and long before, let alone photograph it. But the weather was beautiful, the people were pumped up for their first taste of live music in over two years and the venue was laid out perfectly.  Once the first band started playing and I started photographing, the nervous feeling changed to excitement and happiness. The first live music in over two years… was repeated over and over by the bands/artists and crowd.  

Day 1 had a great lineup, a little something for everyone (which was the theme for all three days).  My favorite performance was Jesse Royal, he sounded amazing and had the crowd involved the entire show.  A close second was Koffee, she is so tiny, but her voice is so powerful.  Arise Roots was my biggest surprise (I have never seen them before), as they put on a great performance which the crowd loved.  And as always, SOJA was my favorite band to photograph, between their stage presence and the lighting, it made for a great performance.  

Day 2 was my favorite lineup of the fest, so hard to pick out the best performance not named Marley.  I loved Lila Ike and Protoje, both had control of the stage and crowd and sounded perfect. Common Kings is always a great band to photograph, and they did not disappoint on Saturday with so much energy. The evening started and continued through the night with four amazing performances, which was no surprise.  Stick Figure was back and better than ever and you could even tell Cocoa missed the live performance!  Barrington Levy brought his soulful sounds to the stage and was fantastic.  Next up, Slightly Stoopid went on with an introduction by B-Real and as always had the crowd bumpin’, jammin’, and singing along all night.  They were joined on stage by Chali 2na, including a great rendition of 50 Cents PIMP, Uncle Don Carlos, and Kailash, killing it on Wiseman.  Then the night was finished off with the best performance of the three days, The Marley Brothers.  It’s hard to put into words what it was like to see all five brothers on stage together.  Simply magnificent!  They were having so much fun up on stage, laughing, smiling and just having a wonderful time celebrating Bob’s birthday!  There was a natural mystic flowing through the air.

Day 3 was the lineup I was intrigued about because many of the bands I had never seen before or even listened to a lot.  Early in the day, Eli Mac sounded amazing and put on a great performance.  The group that I probably had the best time photographing was Iya Terra, they are a metal band that plays reggae, with so much energy and fun on stage.  Pepper needs a mention here because they were also so much fun photographing.  Hirie never disappoints and Sublime with Rome was possibly the biggest surprise to me, they sounded fantastic. The night and festival were finished off by Dirty Heads, they sounded great and did a wonderful job finishing off the night.

I think I can speak for the thousands of attendees and bands that this festival was amazing and something we all needed! – Todd Judd