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Cali Vibes Rocks Long Beach, Allowing Cannabis

Cali Vibes, quickly becoming known as one of the largest reggae-focused events in America, allowed cannabis consumption on-site over the past weekend—one of the latest large events to do so, with an estimated 75,000 in attendance.

Cali Vibes presents the best of reggae, with some surprises, and is sponsored by Weedmaps, AEG, Goldenvoice, and Sponsor Weedmaps. The Marley brothers, Ziggy, Stephens, Damian and Ky-Mani were there, along with Rebelution, Slightly Sloopid and Dirty Heads and Stick Figure. Shaggy performed as well. Pepper, Atmosphere and Artikal Sound System joined them, as well as Tropidelic, Tropidelics, Don Carlos, Don Carlos, and others.

Cali Vibes took place at Marina Green Park, Long Beach (California), February 4 – 6. The event was livestreamed via The event used to be called One Love in previous years. However, this year, cannabis is allowed inside.

“As the official cannabis partner for Cali Vibes this year, Weedmaps had the opportunity to bring awareness to some beloved SoCal brands in the space throughout Cannabis Village”, Juanjo Feijoo, CMO and COO at Weedmaps, told Chronic News. “We are always looking for creative ways to engage with the cannabis community, and were delighted to be able to work with AEG and the Cali Vibes team to create a destination for consumers to learn about cannabis and cannabis brands safely while having fun. We can’t wait to continue to evolve this concept and bring it to more and more venues and festivals across the U.S.”

The crowd seemed to be more positive when there was less alcohol. Weedmaps unveiled a cannabis-themed Weedmaps Village, a dedicated space featuring California’s top cannabis and accessory brands such as The Medicine Woman, Select, ZIG ZAG, Dripp Extracts, Wafers, Papa’s Herb, Buddies, Clone Guy and DIME. 

Guests were entranced with live urban art and interactive games, such as the “Flowers Are Not A Crime” art installation, created by Los Angeles-based artist, Laurie Shapiro, in collaboration with Weedmaps. The title of the installation was chosen to bring awareness to the fact that while cannabis markets continue to emerge and people profit, there are still over 40,000 people—disproportionately minorities—behind bars for nonviolent cannabis-related charges. The Weedmaps app allows users to order directly from The Medicine Woman and then pick it up at an off-site address.

Yaadcore performs with Subatomic at the BoomYard Stage. Beth Saravo. Cali Vibes 2222.

Humboldt Seed Co. was at work informing festival attendees about the importance, and transparency of genetics. Clone Guy was offering living clones with roots protected in plastic globes. This made it a truly surreal and legal experience. There were literally living plants all around the area.

The Koi CBD stage was home to some of today’s biggest acts. The Greens presented Koi CBD could be found near Weedmaps Village. Additional packages were offered by the VIP Lounge and Beach Club. Goldenvoice and Delicious Vinyl Island have partnered to bring you the BoomYard stage at Cali Vibes. It will be home to a host of talented musicians from Jamaica such as Mr. Vegas (Yaadcore), Walshy Fire, Teejay and Naomi Cowan. If you want to listen to the best of Jamaican dub, dancehall and raggamuffin music, this is where you should go. 

We were impressed at Method Man’s control over the audience during Wu-Tang’s performance, which was both the most rowdy and energetic. Stick Figure on the other side impressed the audience with his pyrotechnics.

Chronic NewsCali Vibes was a great place to catch up with many bands.

“Kalea Wassman of Pepper and from the Big Island of Hawaii here—more importantly from the Big Island of Hawaii,” Wassman told Chronic News. “It’s so wonderful to know that with these kinds of events, opening up and being successful like it is now, gives us so much momentum to go into the next festivals that we get to do. This is just a beautiful situation after what we’ve gone through over the past few years. This is a festival filled with hope, because honestly, a lot of people have not been able to gather in this kind of sense with the community that this genre has.” 

Wassman, who is vocalist, said to expect a lot of presence from LAW Records—the band’s own record label. “It’s fantastic where we get to envelope these younger acts and help them succeed in the world of music,” he said. “They’re going to be sprinkled all through the [upcoming new material].”

Pepper performs. Elli Lauren. Photo Credit. Cali Vibes 2222.

“This is a festival filled with hope, because honestly, a lot of people have not been able to gather in this kind of sense with the community that this genre has.” – Kaleo Wassman

Wassman reflected on Pepper’s work ethic, in combination with cannabis. “Honestly, I find it so much more rewarding at this point in my life to do the healthy approach to it, Wassman said. “What I mean by that is allowing myself to fall into the now, and not skipping over any moment that I get to be onstage, because it has been awhile since we have been onstage. That is a beautiful lesson to learn, because when you go town to town, day after day, night after night, you’re very susceptible to losing that connection with each show. What this has taught us now is that everything.” Pepper is set to release new material in 2023 after a giant summer tour that is yet-to-be-announced.

The festival, Sublime With Rome, attracted a huge crowd. This was especially true considering it took place in Long Beach. “We have a freestyle that we’re jamming that’s kind of inspired by some new stuff,” Ramirez told Chronic News. “And we’re playing stuff we’ve never played, like we have Hirie coming up for a song, and we’re doing some stuff we haven’t played out here. It will be different shit tonight for sure.”

The Sublime With Rome Performs Elli Lauren. Cali Vibes 2222.

“We’ve been working on some new music,” – Rome Ramirez.

“We’ve been working on some new music,” Ramirez said. “We’re going into the studio, I think in June, to start to put together some of the tracks we’ve been working on. And hopefully we’ll be putting out a record by next year. We are just kind of focusing on the songs and trying to get all of the writing done.”

Ramirez admitted that Long Beach may not be the most popular destination in Southern California, “but it’s one of the most important in my eyes, because it’s transcended itself into sound in some of the other artists and other genres and artists,” he said. 

Ramirez revealed that he’s been collaborating with Duddy from the Dirty Heads, both on music and CBD/THCa projects with small-batch companies. A lot of people they know only smoke weed, so they’re not getting any CBD. Ramirez explained that both of these artists had experienced difficulties due to playing baseball or skating. “So I said, lets put together some topicals and type of CBD that we can fuck with ourselves.”

Ramirez said details are scarce, but that it’s called Good Times Wellness, but done differently than the over-marketing of typical brands, “because everything now is so sleek and modern.”

The Ries Brothers—hailing from Clearwater, Florida—blend rock, blues, funk and reggae for a highly sophisticated sound with an emphasis on the craft of songwriting. “We played a brand new song called ‘Cornerstone’ and we’re about to go into the studio to record a new album,” Kevin told Chronic News. “That will be on it.” 

The Ries Brothers performed a few live sets for Sugarshack Sessions—a popular, highly intimate digital music series filmed and recorded beneath palm trees in Bonita Springs, Florida. 

Kevin performs with The Ries Brothers. Beth Savaro. Cali Vibes 2222.

“We’re really big on the Last Prisoner Project. If you’re in jail for a nonviolent cannabis charge, people get arrested with three grams and they’re put into jail—sometimes for years.” – The Ries Brothers

“Sugarshack is fantastic, from our home state of Florida, and the work they do is fantastic,” Charlie, who is the older brother, told Chronic News. “It’s such a great relationship that the bands have with them. Because they don’t charge the bands to shoot them. It’s a mutual project. We’ve gone down to their compound to do two sessions, and we just released one that we did from Reggae Rise Up that we did a three-song set. The set featured members from Stick Figure and Iration as well as Passafire, Tropidelic, and Passafire. It was awesome.”

Kevin said that he makes a lot his own content. “I do a solo project called Echoing Dream,” he said. “And it’s kind of more reggae-dub. The idea came to me of reclaiming the song. The song started out with a drum beat and a bass line. This was a kind of reggae song for me. I took out the skanks and everything—just keeping the drum and bass—and that turned into Charlie freestyling over it. The idea to do a remix like this was something I had always wanted. The idea was to get a lot of musicians in the scene together. Hitting up the DMs.” 

Last year, the brothers released a reggae remix of their single “Take It Back,” featuring Julian Marley, as well as E.N Young, Kash’d Out, Gary Dread  of The Movement, Bumpin Uglies, Little Stranger and Jaime Hinckson.

“The cool thing about it was, it worked out with the verses they sent us in the order that it ended up being,” Charlie explained. “Gary Dread was the first to say he was in, then it kind of steamrolled from there. Finally, Julian was finally accepted. Our manager David deserves a huge prop! [Parnes] here.”

“The track was almost done, we didn’t think Julian was going to be on it,” Kevin said. “The night before we had to submit it to mixing, Julian sent us his parts. I quickly mixed it, and am so stoked about having him on track.”

The Ries Brothers are not only interested in cannabis consumption, but cannabis reform that begins with undoing the wrongs from the War on Drugs—as evident in their continual support for organizations such as the Last Prisoner Project.

“We’re really big on the Last Prisoner Project,” Kevin said. “If you’re in jail for a nonviolent cannabis charge, people get arrested with three grams and they’re put into jail—sometimes for years. People can get out jail by using the Last Prisoner Project. [inhumane prison sentences]You can only use small amounts of marijuana. They’re doing a lot for the community, so that’s important to us.” 

DENM does its job. Photo credit Sanjay Suchak. Cali VIbes 2022.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be on this festival bill.” – DENM

DENM’s debut full-length Slum Beach DennyAs one of the best new releases of the year, it is often listed in the top 10 reggae list of 2021. It was like summer’s soundtrack. DENM also co-wrote “Rage” with Jared Watson of the Dirty Heads, featuring Travis Barker and Aimee Interrupter from the Interrupters.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be on this festival bill…” DENM told Chronic NewsJust before his crucial performance. “I’m just trippin’ that I get to play AND see the Marley brothers and Wu-Tang and all these legends—I’m just trippin’.”

In regular fashion, Dirty Heads showed up as one of the festival’s most popular bands. Coming from neighboring Huntington Beach, they weren’t very far from home in the first place. “The vibes are high,” vocalist Jared Watson from the Dirty Heads told Chronic News. “Wu-Tang Clan is playing right now. It’s a home show. I live 20 minutes from here.”

Watson and Duddy are both vocalists. Chronic News that fans won’t hear any unheard new music, “but we will be performing ‘Rage’ tonight, which is one of our newest singles, which we put out not too long ago. We are currently working with lots of new music. We’ve got a new album in the works, but not playing anything new tonight.”

For some, “Rage” seemed like a flashback to the days of punk and ska, such as Operation Ivy.

“We wrote it with DENM,” Watson said. “Me and DENM were in the studio, just writing for Dirty Heads, and we wrote it with him, and when I heard it come together, I said—we’ve got to get Aimee [Allen]. I got the same vibes—this is kind of old school like Operation Ivy. Aimee, from The Interrupters was the first thing that came to mind. They were also working with Barker in that time. That song was completed in less than a single night. Aimee responded by texting me. I asked her, ‘Can you text Travis?’ ‘Sure.’ And an hour later, it was like ‘Travis is in and we’ll do it like tomorrow.’”

Duddy of Dirty Heads performing. Elli Lauren. Photo Credit. Cali Vibes 2222.

“I don’t know if we can release the names of the bands [on our new material] yet, but it’s going to be awesome.” – Duddy

Duddy has confirmed with Ramirez that a new CBD and cannabis project is in progress. “It’s called Good Times Wellness. It’s a collab we’re doing with Consequence. It’s a CBD line and we are going to to small batch with actual marijuana as well. It’s not just CBD. It’s going to be a cool boutique, small batch CBD and marijuana line.”

Watson said that you could probably find new Dirty Heads songs if you look online. “I leaked a new song on a livestream I did,” he said. “There’s a song called ‘Visions’ and a song called ‘Oxygen’ that we have. This record is being produced by the same producer who made those songs. So we’re only working with one producer, and his name is Ryan Ogren. You’ll love him; he’s a close friend of ours. If you like ‘Oxygen’ and ‘Visions,’ you’re going to be stoked because we have songs like that on there. We have a few really, really broken down acoustic songs like that you’d hear on the acoustic album that we did. And then we have the majority of it is that kind of straight-down-the-pipe Dirty Heads. Some songs are more leaning hip-hop, and some are more highly reggae-influenced.” 

“As of now, I think it’s going to be the most solid album that we’ve ever put out,” he said. 

Watson added that the band just saw the soft dates for the summer tour and lineup for who they’re going out with on the tour. “It’s stacked.”

Duddy added, “I don’t know if we can release the names of the bands yet, but it’s going to be awesome.”

“The bands were going on tour with, that are at this show,” he said. “They’re the bigger names that played this weekend that we’re going to be on tour with.”

Duddy stated that Long Beach is like performing in your own home.