Cali Vibes 2024: Day 1 Review - A Symphony of Music, Food, and California Sunshine

Article Contributed by L. Paul Mann | Published on Sunday, March 3, 2024

The first day of Cali Vibes 2024 painted Marina Green Park in Long Beach, California, with a vibrant blend of music and sunshine, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of festival-goers. The festival opened under a magical bubble of pleasant weather, while just a few hours north, torrential rains were causing flash flooding across Central California. For the third year running, Long Beach, California, hosted one of the world's largest Reggae music festivals, Cali Vibes. Despite potential weather concerns, the "vibes" proved more decisive as sunshine bathed the event in its warm glow throughout the weekend. The festival boasts a beautiful location in an oceanfront park with a backdrop of downtown Long Beach on one side and a view of the Queen Mary and the marina on the other. The musical marathon spread across three stages for nearly 10 hours of non-stop tunes.

Cali Vibes 2024

However, Cali Vibes was about more than just the music. The festival offered a complete sensory experience, transforming the park into a vibrant hub of sights, sounds, and flavors. Diverse food vendors from various backgrounds lined the pathways, tempting taste buds with culinary delights ranging from jerk chicken to vegan tacos. Art installations and interactive areas sprinkled throughout the park allowed attendees to connect, explore, and capture unique memories. The festival was also a celebration of legalized marijuana in California, with a major sponsor of the festival being a weed company. Imbibing in all things cannabis-based, consumption was legal and encouraged, making the festival all the more unique. The atmosphere was inclusive and positive, with the California sunshine serving as the perfect backdrop for a day of shared experiences and musical discovery.

Eli-Mac | Cali Vibes

By early afternoon, the festival was in full swing. Cali Vibes veteran Eli-Mac brought island sunshine with powerful vocals and electrifying dance moves to the largest of the three stages, the Vibes stage. Hailing from Maui, Hawaii, Eli-Mac brought her unique blend of R&B, reggae, and hip-hop to the festival, offering a refreshing departure from the more traditional reggae acts. The set wasn't just about music; it celebrated island life. Eli-Mac's warm stage presence and genuine connection with the audience added an undeniable human touch. She quickly captivated the crowd by sharing stories about her home and radiating positive vibes.

Pacific Dub | Cali Vibes

Meanwhile, Pacific Dub, hailing from nearby Huntington Beach, California, performed on the second largest stage, The Green. The band is well known for its unique blend of reggae and rock music, often described as "surf rock reggae" or "alternative rock reggae." Their live performance was energetic and engaging, with the band members showcasing their musical talents and creating a positive and uplifting atmosphere, exciting the early afternoon crowd.

Cisco Adler | Cali Vibes

While not the headliner for the day, Cisco Adler's performance on February 16th at the Cali Vibes Festival 2024 left a lasting impression on the audience. Taking the main stage in the early afternoon, Adler, alongside his talented band, delivered a set filled with infectious energy, smooth grooves, and a touch of nostalgia, solidifying his position as a West Coast hip-hop scene veteran. Adler's setlist offered a well-balanced mix of his solo work and collaborations with the iconic Shwayze group. Tracks like "Party Started" and "California" from his solo albums had the crowd dancing and singing along, while classics like "Corona and Lime" and "Good Feeling" from his Shwayze collaborations transported audiences back to the early days of West Coast hip-hop. This careful curation catered to longtime fans and those discovering Adler's music for the first time.

Inner Circle | Cali Vibes

Inner Circle | Cali Vibes

Inner Circle | Long Beach, CA

The reggae veterans of Inner Circle brought their signature blend of funk, dancehall, and good vibes to the Cali Vibes Green stage. Their performance was a highlight of the day, reminding the audience why they remained a prominent force in the reggae scene for over five decades. Inner Circle wasted no time setting the mood, diving straight into their iconic hit "Sweat (A La La La La Long)." The familiar melody and pulsating beat instantly transported the crowd back to the days of MTV and beach parties. Throughout the set, they flawlessly transitioned between other fan favorites, including "Bad Boys" and "Rock with You," keeping the energy high and the audience engaged. Overall, Inner Circle's performance at Cali Vibes 2024 indeed celebrated reggae music. They delivered a powerful and engaging set that combined nostalgia with fresh energy, captivating the audience with iconic hits, skilled musicianship, and infectious stage presence. Their performance solidified their status as a legendary reggae band and a beloved staple of the California music scene.

Collie Buddz | Cali Vibes

Collie Buddz's performance at the Cali Vibes Festival 2024 was a vibrant and interactive experience that left the audience smiling, singing along, and yearning for more. Taking the Vibes stage, Buddz delivered a set filled with his signature reggae-hip-hop fusion, captivating energy, and a surprise guest appearance that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Buddz's stage presence was infectious. Throughout the set, he interacted with the audience, encouraging singalongs, sharing stories about his musical journey, and even inviting a fan to participate in a rap battle during his song "Blind to You." The fans, chosen randomly from the crowd, surprised everyone with their impressive rap skills, creating a moment of shared excitement and showcasing Buddz's genuine connection with his audience.

Barrington Levy | Cali Vibes

As the sun headed towards the Californian horizon, casting long shadows across the joyful crowd in Marina Green Park, a legend took the stage at Cali Vibes 2024. Dancehall icon Barrington Levy, the "Voice of a Generation," delivered a performance that transcended generations, leaving a lasting impression on the hearts of festival-goers. Levy, a true pioneer of dancehall with a career spanning over four decades, wasn't just performing songs; he was weaving a tapestry of history. The opening chords of "Here I Come" unleashed a wave of nostalgia, transporting the audience back to the golden age of dancehall. Levy's smooth vocals, seasoned by time yet retaining their youthful spirit, resonated through the park, captivating longtime fans and those discovering his music for the first time. The setlist was a carefully curated journey through Levy's illustrious career. He seamlessly transitioned between iconic tracks like "Murderer" and "Under Mi Sensi," showcasing the evolution of his sound while staying true to its roots. Each song pulsated with energy, drawing the crowd into a collective dance floor, swaying and singing in unison. Barrington Levy's performance at Cali Vibes 2024 wasn't just a concert but an experience. He proved that true legends never lose their voice, and the music they create continues to resonate across generations, reminding us of the power of music to create lasting memories and connect hearts.

Iration | Cali Vibes

Iration | Cali Vibes

Iration rang in the California sundown in Long Beach with a dynamic performance at Cali Vibes 2024. Playing The Vibes stage on February 16th, the band delivered a high-energy set filled with their signature island-infused reggae-rock sound, surprising covers, and a vibrant stage presence that left the crowd wanting more. Iration's setlist perfectly blended their well-known hits and deeper cuts, catering to longtime fans and those discovering their music for the first time. Tracks like "Falling" and "Time Bomb" had the crowd singing along and swaying to the infectious rhythms, while newer songs like "Uptown" showcased their evolving sound. Iration not only played their hits but also surprised the crowd with covers of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," adding an unexpected twist to their set.

Cali Vibes | February 16th, 2024

The night's highlight came when Damian Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley, joined Iration on stage for a collaborative performance of "Time Bomb." This unexpected collaboration resonated with the audience, creating a decisive moment that celebrated the legacy of reggae music and the uniting power of music across generations. Iration closed out the night with their signature anthem, "Turn Around," leaving the crowd energized and satisfied. Their performance at Cali Vibes 2024 was a testament to their talent, creativity, and ability to connect with audiences. It was a fitting conclusion to a day filled with music, sunshine, and California vibes.

Stephen and Damian Marley | Cali Vibes

As one of the final acts of day one at Cali Vibes 2024, Damian and Stephen Marley, sons of the legendary Bob Marley, took the stage with a powerful performance that resonated deeply with the audience. Their set wasn't just a concert; it was a celebration of family, musical heritage, and the enduring spirit of reggae. From the opening notes of "Is This Love," the spirit of Bob Marley filled the night air. Throughout the set, Damian and Stephen delivered diverse versions of their father's songs, showcasing their interpretations while staying true to the original spirit. Their heartfelt vocals, backed by a skilled band, created a powerful connection with the audience, many of whom sang along, their voices blending seamlessly in a collective tribute. While honoring their father's legacy was a central theme, the performance also highlighted the individual talents of Damian and Stephen Marley. Damian's powerful raps on songs like "Welcome to Jamrock" showcased his unique style, while Stephen's soulful vocals on "Mind Control" captivated the audience with their emotional depth. They also included a couple of their own songs, demonstrating their artistic identities beyond their family name.

Damian Marley | Cali Vibes

Stephen Marley | Cali Vibes

Complementing the music were large screens displaying iconic Bob Marley imagery and video footage of the late legend performing the songs being played. This visual element added a poignant layer to the experience, allowing the audience to connect with not only the music but also the legacy and spirit of Bob Marley himself. Beyond the music, Damian and Stephen Marley used their platform to deliver a message of peace, love, and unity. They encouraged the audience to embrace diversity and celebrate their individuality, echoing the same messages their father championed throughout his career. As the final notes of "Redemption Song" faded, the crowd erupted in thunderous applause. Damian and Stephen Marley's performance at Cali Vibes 2024 was more than just a concert; it was a powerful and emotional experience that honored a legacy, showcased individual talents, and resonated with the spirit of unity and shared love for music.

Shaggy | Cali Vibes

Shaggy, the undisputed king of Mr. Boombastic, closed out The Green stage at Cali Vibes 2024 with an electrifying performance that left the crowd wanting more. On February 16th, he delivered a set brimming with his signature blend of reggae, dancehall, and pop, proving why he remains a timeless icon in the music industry. Shaggy's setlist celebrated his extensive career, featuring a mix of his well-known hits and fan favorites. Early on, he launched into "It Wasn't Me," setting the tone for a night filled with singalongs and infectious energy. Classics like "Angel" and "Boombastic" had the entire crowd dancing and swaying, while more recent hits like "I Need Your Love" proved he continues to evolve and create music that resonates with audiences of all ages. Shaggy's stage presence was undeniable. He interacted with the audience throughout the set, cracking jokes, telling stories, and inviting a few lucky individuals to dance alongside him onstage. His infectious energy was contagious, keeping the vibe lively and ensuring everyone felt included in the party. Shaggy closed the night with his iconic anthem, "Mr. Boombastic," which energized and satisfied the crowd. His performance was a fitting conclusion to day one of Cali Vibes 2024, reminding everyone why he remains a beloved artist and a symbol of good vibes and positive energy.

Cali Vibes 2024 | day 1

The night culminated with Stick Figure, who filled The Vibes stage viewing area to capacity with their energetic set. As they closed with "Set the World on Fire," the sentiment resonated throughout the entire festival, leaving a lasting impression on the hearts of attendees and solidifying Cali Vibes' reputation as a premier destination for music lovers seeking a taste of California's vibrant spirit and infectious good vibes.