Cali Roots 2024: Living, Laughing, Loving in Monterey

Cali Roots 2024: Living, Laughing, Loving in Monterey

Oh, Cali Roots, you’ve done it again. You stole our heart, filled us with love, made us laugh, made us cry, created new friendships, deepened others, made us grateful to be part of the movement, and struck us with awe (maybe it was Rebelution’s lasers).

The thirteenth annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival came and went this Memorial Day weekend and I’m going to say the same thing I say after every Cali Roots: that we are so lucky to be a part of this family. 

Photo by Allie Adams

Whether you’re part of the Cali Roots facebook page, in a group chat about festival stuff, are on the volunteer team, have a super fan friend group, however you are uniquely involved, you were lucky enough to find this crazy group of people who all have two things in common: good vibes and good music. 


This weekend was chock full of BOTH and Friday kicked off the festivities the right way with sets from Arise Roots, Living Legends, The Elovaters and JBoog (and his Sunshine Girls). Bay Area hero’s E-40 and T00 $hort kept the party going with classics like “Tell Me When to Go”. The mist set in as Stick Figure played hit after hit and the pyrotechnics display lit up the stage and crowd during “World on Fire”. The drizzle continued and so did the music, with Ziggy Marley closing out the Bowl stage with tracks like “Love is my Religion” and “Beach in Hawaii”


Saturday was gorgeous! The sun came out early, and so did festival goers. Significantly busier than Friday, Day 2 blessed us with perfect weather and immaculate vibes care of early artists Claire Wright, Souls of Mischief, The Expendables (who brought out Ozzie of We Should Smoke, as well as The Elevator’s Jackson Wetherbee) and Tribal Seeds, who ended their spring tour with Kabaka Pyramid at Cali Roots. 

Closing out the Bowl Stage, Stephen Marley and his brother Damien went head to head in a Traffic Jam, 110 minutes of pure Marley greatness. From flute solos to a special guest appearance by Damien’s son Elijah, the set was topped only by the extended spoken word intro of “Medication”, the entire Bowl shaking with excitement. 


Sunday was a perfect Monterey day, not a cloud in the sky and a crispness to the air. IMO Sunday was the best day of all, musically. From breakout stars Little Stranger to reggae sweethearts Artikal Sound System early on, to Hawaii’s own The Green in the afternoon and their surprise announcement that their store, The Green General is opening this week in Kauai. 

Hawaii’s other golden boys, Pepper, closed out the Cali Roots stage (they brought out Jackson Wetherbee as well) and afterward everyone headed over to the Bowl stage for Rebelution’s incredible 90 minute set, complete with perfect production, breathtaking lights, and a surprise birthday celebration for drummer Wes FInley’s birthday. 

It was a Cali Roots for the books, and we can’t WAIT until next year!