Beneath the Palm Trees: The Cali Vibes Festival Day 3 Experience

Article Contributed by L. Paul Mann | Published on Thursday, March 7, 2024

Amidst the sun-kissed palm trees and the gentle ocean breeze, the Cali Vibes Festival reached its zenith on Day 3, leaving attendees with an unforgettable musical journey. The festival grounds buzzed with anticipation and excitement as the final day unfolded, setting the stage for an epic conclusion.

Easy like Sunday morning at Cali Vibes

The day started with a diverse lineup catering to a spectrum of musical tastes. From reggae to hip-hop and everything in between, the stages pulsated with energy and rhythm. Day 3 of Cali Vibes started early with a healthy dose of sunshine and infectious grooves, thanks to Boostive. This crew, hailing from Ocean Beach, brought a musical gumbo that had the crowd swaying and grooving from the first note.

Boostive | Cali Vibes

Boostive isn't your average band. Fluctuating between 7 and 10 members, they threw a musical net that scooped up everything from world and dub to soul, hip-hop, and even a sprinkle of psych rock. While their 2019 debut album, "Cream Supreme," showcased their studio prowess, the live experience is where Boostive truly shines.

Boostive horns

Their secret weapon is their horn section. Crisp and tight, it weaved melodies around the heavy bass and drum pocket that's the foundation of Boostive's sound. Think classic dub reggae with a healthy dose of instrumental hip-hop swagger, all punctuated by soulful flourishes and the occasional world music detour.

Boostive | Cali Vibes 2024

Next, Tropidelic took the Vibes stage, ready to infuse the festival's final day with their infectious blend of reggae rock, hip-hop, and high-energy funk. Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, the band is familiar with the festival scene, and their experience shone through as they effortlessly captivated the crowd.

Tropidelic | Cali Vibes

From the opening notes, the energy was palpable. The reggae-tinged rhythms of "Escape" had the audience swaying and grooving, while the hip-hop-infused verses added a layer of unexpected coolness. Tropidelic's sound is truly a melting pot of genres, seamlessly blending elements of each to create a unique and undeniably danceable sound.

Johnny Tropidelic | Cali Vibes

Lead singer Johnny Tropidelic kept the crowd engaged throughout the set. His smooth vocals effortlessly glided over the funky basslines and driving drum beats while the rest of the band provided tight and energetic accompaniment. Tracks like "Higher" and "Island Life" showcased the band's ability to weave catchy melodies with thought-provoking lyrics, encouraging the audience to embrace life's simple joys and positive vibes.

Tropidelic | Cali Vibes

By the time Tropidelic closed out their performance with the anthemic "Free," the crowd was left buzzing with positive energy. The band's infectious blend of genres and energetic stage presence proved to be the perfect way to spend an incredible day at Cali Vibes.

Bumpin Uglies | Cali Vibes

Day three of Cali Vibes wasn't just about chill vibes but also about bringing the energy. Bumpin Uglies, the Annapolis, Maryland-based punk reggae band, took the stage and transformed the atmosphere into a full-fledged mosh pit skank fest.

Dave "Wolfie" Wolf | Bumpin Uglies

The band, known for their "melody-driven, free-spirited blend of ska, reggae, and punk," didn't waste any time getting the crowd moving. Their infectious energy was evident from the first power chord of their opening song, and the audience responded in kind, forming a sea of bodies swaying and skanking to the music.

T.J. Haslett | Bumpin Uglies

Bumpin Uglies' music perfectly blends genres, drawing influences from ska-punk pioneers like Sublime, Bad Religion, Reel Big Fish, and Goldfinger. This unique combination creates a catchy and energetic sound, perfect for getting a festival crowd pumped up.

Brandon Hardesty | Bumpin Uglies

Lead singer Brandon Hardesty kept the energy high throughout the set, his raspy vocals perfectly complementing the band's driving rhythms. Tracks like "No Pressure" and "Afterparty" had the crowd singing along and moshing enthusiastically, while "It's Alright" provided a brief moment of melodic respite before diving back into the energetic frenzy.

Bumpin Uglies | Cali Vibes

The band's tight musicianship was on full display throughout the set. The guitarists effortlessly weaved between ska-infused skanking and reggae-inspired chugs, while the bassist laid a solid foundation to keep the crowd moving. The drummer T.J. Haslett, meanwhile, provided a relentless pulse that drove the music forward.

Cali Vibes | Long Beach, CA

As the Cali Vibes sun dipped lower on day three, casting a warm glow over the stage, Passafire, the Savannah, GA-bred reggae outfit, took the stage, ready to ignite the crowd with their signature brand of soulful reggae. Formed in 2003 by Ted Bowne and Nick Kubley, Passafire has built a formidable reputation within the U.S. reggae scene through relentless touring and infectious grooves.

Passafire | Cali Vibes

From the opening chords, the band's seasoned experience shone through. Their tight musicianship and undeniable chemistry were evident as they effortlessly weaved through a setlist packed with fan favorites and new tracks. Lead singer Ted Bowne's smooth vocals effortlessly soared over the driving rhythms laid down by the rhythm section, creating a soundscape that was both soothing and invigorating.

Passafire | Cali Vibes 2024

Tracks like "Roots Rock Revolution" and "Better Day" showcased Passafire's ability to blend traditional reggae elements with a contemporary edge. The influence of bands like John Brown's Body, who inspired them early on, was evident in the gritty undercurrent that pulsed through their music. This unique blend resonated with the crowd, creating a sense of singalong camaraderie that filled the air.

Passafire | Cali Vibes

Passafire also showcased their versatility throughout the set. Slower, more introspective songs like "Love Like Fire" provided a welcome respite, allowing the crowd to sway gently to the music and soak in the positive vibes. Yet, the band always retained their ability to get the party started. Energetic tracks like "Lion's Share" and "This Feeling" had the crowd skanking and grooving, arms raised in joyful abandon.

Cali Vibes | Long Beach, CA

One of the festival's highlights was the "Boom Yard" stage, curated by Leslie Cooney. This stage featured a vibrant mix of Afrobeat music, DJs, and dancers, creating a unique and energetic atmosphere. The festival also offered a platform for up-and-coming artists, showcasing the diverse musical landscape of California. Day three of Cali Vibes wasn't just about established bands but also a platform for rising stars. Among them was Kailash, a 12-year-old multi-talent already making waves in music. Touted as a musical prodigy, Kailash took the stage, captivating the audience with his raw talent and infectious enthusiasm.

Kailash | Cali Vibes 2024

Despite his young age, Kailash's stage presence was undeniable. He exuded a confidence and charisma that belied his years, captivating the audience from the moment he stepped onto the stage. Armed with his guitar and a powerful voice, Kailash launched into a set that showcased his diverse musical influences and undeniable songwriting skills.

Kailash | Long Beach, CA

His music, a blend of soulful melodies, introspective lyrics, and catchy hooks, resonated with the crowd on a deeper level. Tracks like "Chasing Dreams" and "Find Your Light" spoke to the universal themes of hope, perseverance, and chasing one's dreams, which resonated deeply with the festivalgoers, young and old alike.

Kailash | Cali Vibes

As the California sun dipped lower on day three of Cali Vibes, casting a warm glow over the stage, The Green, a reggae band hailing from Oahu, Hawaii, took center stage. Formed in 2009, the band brought a unique blend of dub-heavy roots reggae, smooth lovers' rock, and contemporary pop and rock influences, all infused with their island heritage.

The Green | Cali Vibes

The Green's sound instantly transported the audience to a tropical paradise. The bass and drums' driving rhythms laid a solid foundation, while the dub effects added a hypnotic layer of depth. Frontman Kawika "K.B." Kahiwa's smooth vocals, combined with the soulful harmonies of the backing vocalists, created a soundscape that was both soothing and invigorating.

Cali Vibes | Long Beach, CA

From the opening song, the band's infectious energy was evident. Tracks like "Open Your Eyes" and "Island Time" had the crowd swaying and singing along, while the lovers' rock-tinged "Love and Harmony" provided a touch of romantic sweetness. The Green's music wasn't just about creating a party atmosphere; it also incorporated elements of their Hawaiian heritage. Songs like "Wai'anae" and "Na Wai 'Eha" featured lyrics in the Hawaiian language, offering the audience a glimpse into the band's cultural roots and connection to the land.

The Green | Cali Vibes

Throughout the set, The Green displayed their impressive musicianship. The guitarists seamlessly weaved between reggae skanks and intricate solos, while the keyboardist added flourishes of color and texture. The tight rhythm section kept the groove locked in, ensuring the audience remained on their feet throughout the performance.

Ganja galore at Cali Vibes -

Day three of Cali Vibes wasn't just about reggae and rock; it was also a celebration of West Coast hip-hop legends. Taking the stage was the iconic Too Short, a pioneer of the genre who has been dropping rhymes for over three decades. The energy shifted as the crowd, ready for a dose of old-school hip-hop, erupted in cheers.

Too Short | Cali Vibes

Too Short, whose real name is Todd Anthony Shaw, proved that age is just a number. Backed by a live DJ, he commanded the stage with his signature raspy voice and undeniable charisma. Launching into a set packed with his classic hits, he instantly transported the audience back to the golden age of West Coast hip-hop.

Too Short | Cali Vibes

Tracks like "Blow the Whistle" and "Freakin' It" had the crowd jumping and singing along, while "Life Is Short" served as a reminder to live life to the fullest. Too Short's lyrics, though often explicit, tackled themes of reality and social commentary, resonating with fans who have grown up with his music.

Cali Vibes | Long Beach, CA

The energy remained electric throughout the set. Too Short's stage presence was captivating, and his interaction with the crowd kept the atmosphere lively. He even invited a few lucky fans to rap alongside him, creating a shared experience and community.

J Boog | Cali Vibes

J Boog, the American-Samoan reggae singer-songwriter, took the Vibes stage next. Known for his soulful vocals and infectious grooves, J Boog delivered a performance that brought the festival to a genuinely heartwarming mood.

J Boog | Cali Vibes

From the opening notes, the audience was captivated by J Boog's undeniable stage presence. His infectious smile and genuine passion for music radiated through his performance, instantly connecting with the crowd. Launching into a setlist that spanned his career, J Boog showcased his ability to blend classic reggae roots with contemporary R&B influences.

Cali Vibes 2024

Tracks like "Let Go" and "So Caught Up" had the audience swaying and singing along, their voices blending harmoniously with J Boog's soulful vocals. The heartfelt ballad "Island Girl" served as a love letter to his Samoan heritage, while the upbeat tempo of "It's Alright" brought a wave of positive energy to the closing hours of the festival.

J Boog | Cali Vibes

J Boog showcased his impressive vocal range throughout the set, effortlessly switching between smooth crooning and passionate belting. His backing band, the Incomparable Band, provided a solid foundation with their tight rhythms and infectious grooves. Together, they created a soothing and refreshing soundscape, perfectly capturing the essence of Cali Vibes.

Kolohe Kai | Cali Vibes

Kolohe Kai, the island reggae artist from Oahu, took the Vibes stage at sunset. For over a decade, Kolohe Kai, the project of singer-songwriter Roman De Peralta, has been a staple in Pacific Island reggae, and his infectious energy and island vibes were the perfect way to end the festival on a high note.

Cali Vibes | Long Beach, CA

The audience was swept away from the opening chords to the tropical paradise that Kolohe Kai's music evokes. His smooth vocals, reminiscent of the gentle ocean breeze, blended seamlessly with his band's driving rhythms, creating a relaxing and refreshing soundscape. Tracks like "Aloha 'Oe" and "Island Life" had the crowd swaying and singing along, their voices adding to the joyful atmosphere.

Kolohe Kai

Kolohe Kai's performance wasn't just about creating a feel-good vibe but also about celebrating his island heritage. Songs like "Hilo Town" and "Lei Pikake" paid homage to his Hawaiian roots, showcasing his cultural pride and connection to the land. The heartfelt lyrics resonated with the audience, creating a shared experience and appreciation for island culture.

Cali Vibes | Long Beach, CA

Kolohe Kai's talent extended beyond his singing and songwriting. Throughout the set, he displayed his impressive musicality, effortlessly switching between acoustic guitar and ukulele, adding layers of texture and depth to his music. His band, a tight-knit group of seasoned musicians, provided a solid foundation with their dynamic grooves, ensuring the audience remained captivated throughout the performance.

Kolohe Kai | Cali Vibes

A special highlight of the set was a surprise guest appearance by local hula dancers. As Kolohe Kai performed a traditional Hawaiian song, the dancers graced the stage with their graceful movements, adding another layer of cultural authenticity to the experience.

SOJA fans getting ready for the show

As the California sun dipped below on day three of Cali Vibes, SOJA, the Grammy-winning reggae band from Virginia, took center stage. Bringing over two decades of experience and infectious grooves, SOJA transformed the atmosphere into a full-fledged skanking extravaganza.

SOJA | Cali Vibes 2024

The band's seasoned musicianship and undeniable chemistry were evident from the opening notes. Their tight rhythm section laid a solid foundation, while the horns and keys added vibrant layers of melody and harmony. Lead singer Jacob Hemphill's passionate vocals soared over the music, captivating the audience and inciting a sea of swaying bodies.

Jacob Hemphill | SOJA

SOJA's music is a potent blend of roots reggae, soulful influences, and contemporary rock, creating a familiar yet innovative sound. Tracks like "True Love" and "I Don't Wanna Wait" had the crowd singing along and skanking with unbridled enthusiasm, while "Can't Run Away" offered a more reflective and thought-provoking message.

SOJA | Cali Vibes

The band's stage presence was electric. Hemphill's charismatic energy was contagious, and the entire band moved with a synchronized fluidity that exuded joy and passion for their music. They interacted with the audience throughout the set, encouraging singalongs and creating a shared community.

Bobby Lee Jefferson | SOJA

The legendary Philadelphia-based hip-hop band The Roots took the Vibes stage in the early evening. For over three decades, The Roots have redefined hip-hop with their virtuosic musicianship and socially conscious lyrics, and their Cali Vibes performance served as a powerful and fitting conclusion to the festival.

The Roots | Cali Vibes 2024

From the opening notes, the energy was palpable. The stage transformed into a mini-orchestra, with rappers Black Thought and Dice Raw churning out rhymes with precision and flow, backed by a live band that defied categorization. Keyboardist James Poyser laid down soulful grooves while the rest of the band, including a drummer, guitarist, bassist, and horn section, seamlessly blended hip-hop beats with jazz, funk, and soul elements.

The Roots | Cali Vibes 2024

The Roots' music transcended the boundaries of genre. Tracks like "You Got Me" and "The Next Movement" had the crowd jumping and singing along, captivated by the band's infectious energy and undeniable talent. "Proceed" showcased their socially conscious message, prompting the audience to reflect on societal issues with a critical lens.

The Roots | Long Beach, CA

Beyond their musical prowess, The Roots delivered a captivating performance. Black Thought's stage presence was magnetic, his rapid-fire delivery and sharp wit keeping the crowd engaged throughout the set. Dice Raw served as a perfect complement, adding his unique style and lyrical flair to the mix. The band's camaraderie and genuine love for music were evident as they interacted with each other and the audience, creating a shared experience and community.

The Roots | Cali Vibes

The night ended with competing headline acts just as a light rain began to reach the festival grounds: Santa Barbara’s own Rebelution and veteran rapper Ice Cube. Rebelution has become the de facto rulers of California Reggae over the years and performed a crowd-pleasing set as always. Ice Cube's performance was equally impressive, showcasing his rapping prowess and cultural influence.

Great weekend had by all! See you next year!

As the final notes faded into the night, echoes of laughter and applause lingered in the air, serving as a reminder of the unforgettable memories created during three days of pure musical magic. As attendees dispersed into the night, they carried with them the spirit of Cali Vibes, knowing they had been part of something extraordinary. Overall, Cali Vibes 2024 was a resounding success. The festival provided a perfect blend of music, community, and good vibes, leaving attendees with lasting memories and a renewed appreciation for the California music scene.