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West Coast Reggae: California Roots On The Rise

West Coast Reggae: California Roots on the Rise

Reggae music has been huge on the West Coast ever since Bob Marley broke out in the U.S. with Rastaman Vibration in 1976. Reggae spread up and down the coast, from San Diego to Seattle. This growth has spawned not only several notable festivals and bands but a host of regional and local weekly events that cater to the love of reggae in all its forms. California has the lion’s share of reggae action. Not only is reggae music is alive and well all along the West Coast; it is growing.

From roots reggae to dub, dancehall, rock, and various fusions, reggae music is hot on the West Coast. The number of bands drawn by a spiritual inclination to the roots reggae subgenre alone is enough to tell you that reggae isn’t dead. California continually rediscovers reggae as a way to bring communities together in the Rastafarian spirit of One Love, One World.

Bob Marley, Santa Monica, CA 1979
Bob Marley, Santa Monica, CA 1979
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Hot West Coast Reggae Bands

The West Coast is home base for many reggae bands, covering all genres of reggae music. From roots to dub to dancehall, the West Coast reggae scene has it all. The bands in the following list are among the hottest reggae bands in the country and regularly feature on the reggae festival circuit.

Many of these groups often perform together in the same shows and festivals, presenting audiences with a dynamic variety of hip-moving reggae vibe.

Iration

Iration is a reggae-influenced alternative band formed in Isla Vista, CA. Originally from Hawaii, they play a mix of reggae, dub, and rock. http://irationmusic.com

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Isla Vista California
Iration are Joseph Dickens (Drums), Joseph King (Engineer), Cayson Peterson (Keyboard/Synth), Micah Pueschel (Guitar/ Vocals), and Adam Taylor (Bass).
Iration are Joseph Dickens (Drums), Joseph King (Engineer), Cayson Peterson (Keyboard/Synth), Micah Pueschel (Guitar/ Vocals), and Adam Taylor (Bass).

Rebelution

Rebelution is a reggae rock music band that was founded at UC Santa Barbara whose thoughtful music is peaceful, mellow & laid back. — http://rebelutionmusic.com/

[symple_spacing size=”10px”][symple_testimonial by=”Bill Murphy (Relix.com)”]”Rebelution cultivates a sun splashy sound that owes a lot to the pop-reggae efforts of Black Uhuru and Third World.”[/symple_testimonial][symple_spacing size=”10px”]
Isla Vista California
Rebelution are Eric Rachmany (guitar and lead vocals), Rory Carey (keyboard), Marley D. Williams (bass) and Wesley Finley (drums)
Rebelution are Eric Rachmany (guitar and lead vocals), Rory Carey (keyboard), Marley D. Williams (bass) and Wesley Finley (drums)

The Expanders

The Expanders are a big part of the burgeoning Los Angeles reggae scene. Known for their classic 1970’s Jamaican-influenced sound — http://theexpanders.net/

[symple_spacing size=”10px”][symple_testimonial by=”Chuck Foster (KPFK LA)”]“The Expanders are one of the best reggae bands to emerge from the L.A. area. This exciting young band has mastered the sound of classic roots”[/symple_testimonial][symple_spacing size=”10px”]
Los Angeles CA
The Expanders
The Expanders are John Asher (Drums, Vocals), John Butcher (Guitar, Vocals), Roy Fishell (Organs), Chiquis Lozoya (Bass, Vocals), and Devin Morrison (Guitar, Vocals)

Arise Roots

Arise Roots are a five piece band from Los Angeles, California.  They have a more modern, energized take on roots reggae — http://www.ariseroots.com/

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Los Angeles CA
Arise Roots
Arise Roots are Karim Israel – Vocals, Todd Johnson – Keyboards/Vocals, Robert Sotelo Jr. – Lead Guitar, Rodolfo Covarrubias – Bass, and Ron Montoya – Drums.

Ital Vibes

Ital Vibes call Los Angeles home. These California natives bring the roots-reggae heat and heart on stage — https://soundcloud.com/italvibesband

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Los Angeles CA
Ital Vibes Members: Kennedy...Lead Vocals Jeremy 'Levi Dozier' Kary...Vocals Marc...Keys Aaron...Drums Andy...Guitar Evan...Bass Jacob...Percussion Justin...Keys
Ital Vibes are Kennedy (Lead Vocals), Jeremy 'Levi Dozier' Kary (Vocals), Marc (Keys), Aaron (Drums), Andy (Guitar), Evan (Bass), Jacob (Percussion) and Justin (Keys)

Dirty Heads

Dirty Heads are from Huntington Beach, CA and play reggae mix with ska, hip-hop, rock and punk. — http://www.dirtyheads.com/

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Huntington Beach California
The Dirty Heads from Huntington Beach, California
The Dirty Heads from Huntington Beach, California are Jared Watson (Dirty J), Dustin Bushnell (Duddy B), Jon Olazabal, Matt Ochoa, David Foral and Shawn Hagood

Tribal Seeds

Tribal Seeds from San Diego, California play spiritually driven roots reggae influenced by the likes of Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, and Midnite  — http://www.tribalseeds.net/

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San Diego, CA
Tribal Seeds San Diego, California.
Tribal Seeds from San Diego, California are Steve Jacobo, Tony-Ray Jacobo, Carlos Verdugo, Victor Navarro, E.N Young and Ryan Gonzo

Nahko and Medicine for the People

Nahko Bear and Medicine for the People frontman, Nahko Bear, has been compared to Bob Marley and proclaimed a “musical prophet”  — http://nahko.com/

[symple_spacing size=”10px”][symple_testimonial by=”Jacob Devaney (Founder and Director, Culture Collective)”]”I am a fan of Nahko and Medicine for the People as they embody this wisdom in person as well as through their sound, and lyrics.”[/symple_testimonial][symple_spacing size=”10px”]
Portland, Oregon
Nahko and Medicine for the People
Nahko and Medicine for the People are Nahko Bear, Chase Makai, Justin Chittams, Pato & Hope Medford

Indubious

Indubious are called the originators and ambassadors of Rootstronica. Their music is a high energy blend of Reggae, Rock and EDM — http://www.indubiousmusic.com/

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Ashland, Oregon
Indubious are Skip Wicked and Evton B
Indubious are Skip Wicked and Evton B

Groundation

Groundation is an American roots reggae ensemble reminiscent of Alpha Blondy from Sonoma County California. Their reggae is a progressive amalgamation of jazz, funk, dub, salsa, and soul in a progressive amalgam of sound all their own. — http://groundation.com/

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Sonoma County California
Groundation from Sonoma County, California are Harrison Stafford (lead vocals & guitar), Marcus Urani(keyboard & B3), Ryan Newman (bass), Te Kanawa Haereiti (drums), Jason Robinson (saxaphone), David Chachere (trumpet), Daniel Wlodarcyzk (trombone), Kim Pommell (vocals) and Sherida Sharpe (vocals)
Groundation from Sonoma County, California are Harrison Stafford (lead vocals & guitar), Marcus Urani(keyboard & B3), Ryan Newman (bass), Te Kanawa Haereiti (drums), Jason Robinson (saxaphone), David Chachere (trumpet), Daniel Wlodarcyzk (trombone), Kim Pommell (vocals) and Sherida Sharpe (vocals)
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Kings Of Reggae Pintail Longboard
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Must-See West Coast Reggae Festivals

While there are many festivals on the West Coast every year, the number of California reggae festivals comes close to outnumbering all the rest. Many reggae festivals have started up in Oregon and Washington state, but only three have survived through 2016.

California remains the place to start when you’re looking for reggae festivals. The festival season runs from March through October, so there are plenty of opportunities to see your favorite reggae artists along with up and coming bands.

CALI Reggae Concerts
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Best California Reggae Festivals

The Reggae On The River Festival
The Reggae On The River Festival
California Roots Festival May 26-28th 2017 California Roots Festival FREE Live Streaming
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Best Oregon Reggae Festivals

Northwest World Reggae Festival
Northwest World Reggae Festival
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Best Washington Reggae Festivals

Bob Marley Biography and History Bob Marley's Biography and Legacy

The Story of Bob Marley and His Living Legacy.

Discover how singer, musician and songwriter Bob Marley rose from the slums of Jamaica to become the world’s ambassador of reggae music.

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Notable California Communities with Regular Reggae Happenings

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Reggae Life in Los Angeles
Skaka Rock & Gyasi Gong from blazemob reggae band Los Angeles/Jamaica
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There’s no question that California is home to the most vibrant reggae communities on the West Coast. Perhaps that’s driven by population, but more likely it’s the result of the hunger for the music of all types along the coast. Here’s a must-visit list of regular reggae happenings in California.

San Diego, CA is home to a number of clubs supporting reggae music, and a walk along its beaches will reveal impromptu reggae jam sessions every day of the week thanks to its beautiful weather. Venues such as the 710 Beach Club (Pacific Beach), Galagher’s Pub and Grill (Ocean Beach), Winstons Beach Club (Ocean Beach), Club Spin (home to Reggae Sundays), and Croce’s Park West (Bankers Hill) regularly feature the best in West Coast reggae and ska. For more listings, see http://www.irieone.com/city/san-diego-reggae-clubs-events/.

San Diego is home to Reggae!
San Diego, CA

Los Angeles, CA has a host of reggae clubs and events, as you might expect from the entertainment capital of the world. On Sundays alone, six clubs host regular reggae events, includeing Caribbean Sundayz at The Savoy Entertainment Center in Inglewood, Fully Fullwood Live Reggae Sunday at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach, Jamaican Gold International Sundays at The Study in Hollywood, and Reggae Sundays at the Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach. For an extensive list of weekly reggae shows, visit http://www.irieone.com/city/los-angeles-reggae-clubs-events/.

Los Angeles Reggae Lives
Los Angeles, CA

Santa Cruz, CA is a surprisingly vibrant home for the West Coast reggae community given its size and the number of regular events going on in the small, old Northern California beach community. Perhaps that’s in part because of the number of students attending UC Santa Cruz. But Santa Cruz has always had a laid-back vibe that encouraged the adoption of new music and its propagation among local musicians and music aficionados alike. From the regular Reggae Beach Jam at The Crow’s Nest (2218 East Cliff Drive) – open to all comers — to Bocci’s Reggae Saturdays at Bocci’s Cellar (140 Encinal Street) featuring dancehall and roots reggae, visitors to Santa Cruz will find lots to love in its reggae scene.

Reggae Lives in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA

San Francisco, CA has its share of weekly and monthly reggae events, in addition to impromptu jam sessions that frequently happen in and around Golden Gate Park. The key weekly reggae events in San Francisco are Dub Mission at the Elbo Room (647 Valencia Street, San Francisco), King of Kings Reggae Sundays at The New Parish (579 18th Street, Oakland), Skylarking at Skylark (3089 16th Street, San Francisco), Bless Up at Milk (1840 Haight Street, San Francisco), and Flex Thursdays at Era Art Bar (19 Grand Ave, Oakland).

San Francisco is home to Reggae
San Francisco, CA
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Upryzin

John “Upryzin” Curry is a California native reggae artist who uses his insight and connections to cover the rising California Roots scene. Find out about what is happening, who to see and where to go from your own personal insider.

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