The Most Memorable Things We Saw At Cali Roots 2022

The Most Memorable Things We Saw At Cali Roots 2022

The return of Cali Roots Festival was for many a glimmer back to our pre-pandemic lives. As we flocked back to Monterey’s famous Fair Grounds we bore witness to a rebirth of live music envoloped in 4 days and nights of reggae, reggae rock and hip hop music. 

With so much to take in over the 4 day weekend we’ve tried to boil it down to the most memorable things we saw this year.

Most Memorable things We Saw At Cali Roots

Collie Buddz served up Dominos to the crowd! For the second year in a row, Collie Budz treated us with an amazing set alongside lunch by filling The Bowl with what seems like a million pizzas

Photo by Propixmedia

Pepper surprised us with a performance of a lifetime from their Tour Manager’s son, who stole the show with his Trumpet playing the melody to a classic Sublime song. They also closed their set with a sweet tribute to Kastro’s lead singer the late Andy Castro. 

Between Jesse Royal and Protoje’s set the Esselen Tribe, the Native American tribe from Monterey, blessed the festival with purifying herbs as the tribe performed a traditional ceremony in front of thousands of festival-goers. 

Stick Figure closed down the festival – literally – by packing The Bowl so tight (HA) that during Stick’s first song the Monterey fire marshall had to close access to The Bowl for festival-goers due to the sheer number of people trying to catch the epic set.

Photo by Propixmedia

Hip Hop! The 2022’s lineup of the hip hop acts brought this writer to her musical happy place. Ice Cube made his Cali Roots debut by playing all the hits alongside hilarious comedic banter, it was a tight set and his bars were fire.

Photo by Propixmedia

 Sa-Roc, a formidable force in hip hop, spit the dopest bars bringing her socially conscience vibes center stage and you know she is fire when Brother Ali was sighted catching her set! 

Fellow Rhymesayer artists, Brother Ali and Atmosphere — need I say more. 


Nattali Rize stole our hearts with her all women backing band – and the bass player was giving us all sorts of Funky. Stanky. Bass!

The ART: This year local artists painted large murals along the main Cali Roots corridor. All were created live and during the fest, featured artists include murals from Arsenio Baca, Calee Dunlap (aka Babybob Ross) and The Jams Brand – Jessica Carmen and AugieWK. Check out some of the works:


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The Openers: Every day the openers kicked off the fest early greeting the audience with sweet, sweet music as the gates opened. And if you can get there early, I highly recommend you do so. With minimal crowds, it is easy to land the best spots to catch sets from these emerging artists. So in case you slept in I got you covered with the opener rundown:

Eli Mac opened the festival with a high energy performance, the former American Idol contestant stole our hearts – Welcome to Cali Roots!!

Tunnel Vision was a must see set with a full backing horn section that just killed it! Their live performance was on point and gave me some throw back vibes to late ninties SKA.


Natural Vibrations brought the ALOHA spirit to life with their opening set on Friday! Truly beautiful songs – highly recommend

I gotta admit by Saturday I was TIRED… But bigups to Sensi Trails who brought the energy:

Vana Liya’s set was amazing! She captured our hearts and sang to our souls:

With so much to see over the 4 days of the fest, we wanted to shine light on the epic moments and the reason why we love this festival so much. Dang, I miss it already!! Who is ready for 2023???

And ICYMI, loyalty tickets have been announced and are ready for purchase.

Pro-Tip: If you missed 2022 and have a little FOMO or if you know you are going to 2023, grab your tickets now, these are going to be the best prices offered, and you know the line-up will be the best one yet.

By: Mercedes Romana