Nothing But Good Vibes, Good Music … and Good Weed … At One Love Cali Reggae Fest THOUGHTS+PHOTOS: ONE LOVE CALI REGGAE FEST 2018
LONG BEACH, CA- On January 1st, California not only ushered in a new year, but also Proposition 64: the legalization of recreational marijuana. As long as you have ID to prove that you are older than 21 you can legal purchase marijuana from a licensed retailer and smoke/consume your herb in a private setting. Attendees took full advantage of the new law at One Love Cali Reggae Fest on the weekend of February 10th-11th.
For two days, the city of Long Beach, CA hosted this festival on the grounds adjacent to the iconic Queen Mary luxury liner. With ocean views accompanied by idyllic weather, the setting was near perfect to enjoy the surprisingly diverse musical offerings the festival had to offer. From dancehall to roots reggae to reggae rock to lovers rock, all genres of reggae were represented at One Love. But more importantly, the spirit of reggae was all around.
While the selections of Atmosphere (rap), Nas (rap) and Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals (blues rock) to top the daily line-ups may have seemed somewhat uncharacteristic of the overall reggae theme of the festival, there would be no denying that each of those acts embodied an authentic spirit, if not musicality, of reggae. The political and social messages that they espoused through their music, speaking truth to power, would have made Bob Marley proud.
But what would have put the biggest smile on Bob’s face was the total sense of freedom and love that saturated the festival. The good vibes were everywhere, and … just being blunt (pun not intended) … I think a lot of those good vibes were the result of the amount of weed that was lit, smoked and shared throughout the weekend.
Dumbass politicians are always trying throw shade at the effects of weed. As an occasional weed smoker myself, I can vouch that weed only makes you want to smile, laugh, share and eat. And that’s exactly what I saw at One Love.
On Sunday, as I was walking across the festival grounds from the main stage to the small stage, I spotted four EMT’s lounging and joking on their emergency vehicle. I asked them whether they had to deal with any medical issues that are so commonplace at large musical festivals (drunk sick, dehydration, overdose). They each looked at each other and gave each other quizzical looks as if they were just realizing that their collective answer was, “No.” Even security, while still doing their jobs of making sure festival ground rules were adhered to, seemed to be more cordial and friendly compared to other festival’s I’ve been to.
And while some aspects of the festival could be improved for next year (foot path lighting, port-o-potty locations and general foot traffic pathways), you can’t do much better than seeing Emergency Medical Technicians and security NOT having to do their jobs. In fact, I’ll go on record and say that I probably had the most enjoyable experience working a festival at One Love … and I didn’t even light one up or burn one down.
BELOW ARE LINKS TO THE MUSICAL ACTS WE WERE ABLE TO CATCH AT GIRLSCHOOL 2018. CLICK ON THROUGH TO CHECK IT ALL OUT!
February 10, 2018
February 11, 2018
Derrick K. Lee is a music attorney, blogger, concert photographer and co-owner of Blurred Culture. He goes to a lot of shows and sometimes he writes good. Music is his boo.
All photos are edited with iPhoto. Lightroom edits can be made upon request. For prints and/or approvals for special uses of any photo taken by Derrick, please contact him directly.