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Reggae on the River reviews

Posted by nomotrouble 
Reggae on the River reviews
August 05, 2015 01:30AM
So what did you guys think of reggae on the river? I'd be interested in hearing from those who viewed or listened to the stream also. Here's mine.

I arrived on thursday so i could drag my equipment down to the stage, not much fun over the 3/4 mile path from richardson state park where i was camping. There were a couple acts i wanted to see also, Hirie and Mr. Williamz, but Mr. W did not show. Pablo Moses came on last and from what i heard put on a great show, but it was midnight and i was beat. Hirie, however, put on a great show also, which i videotaped. It was nice to see her since i missed her at snwmf. She seemed to be having a great time and said she would be around all weekend. She came out for a song or two with at least three acts during the weekend that i saw. I heard that the fest had a ton of immigration issues, and there were several no shows, more than usual, including the act i had most wanted to see, Protoje and the Indiggnation. It was in the upper 90's weather wise on thursday, and everyone said it was mid 100's the day before. It cooled off a bit the rest of the weekend, but i spent much of it pouring water over my shirt, and down my throat. There were several hydration stations with free water so there was no excuse for dehydration. Crowd was small on thursday, bigger on friday, big crowd on saturday, and smaller for the most part sunday.

On friday i caught Inna Vision and Stick Figure, and recorded Katchafire and Don Carlos. I know you always hear that Don always puts on a great show, but it's true. Heard he was due in Colorado the next day but obliged ROTR when Protoje cancelled. Katchafire was good also. After hearing a couple songs, i spared myself of Collie Budz and Cham, and got to sleep at a reasonable time so i would make it back for Army, who was playing at 1 pm, subbing for Aaradhna i guess.

So saturday i recorded Army and Dubmarket again, saw Alerta Kamarada who were very good. I think they played that song 'Stop that Train' of Keith and Tex to great effect. And then i recorded Emmanuel Jal, who in my opinion was worth the two hundred bucks i paid for the whole weekend. After that i was emotionally spent. I got some food and went back to the shade tent and tried to give the ghetto youth crew a fair shake. didn't really work for me, skip marley, eh, didn't really have his own sound. Black am I was the best of the bunch i thought, but it didn't stop me from going back to camp and falling asleep, probably by the time tarrus was playing.

I had promised the Empress Unification ladies that i would record them on sunday, so i showed up bright eyed and, well, i was there. They were all really good, and the band, the Fyah Squad, was smoking hot. I listened to Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba under the shade tent, eating, puffing, yacking, and then reading my book while listening. I nodded off while reading, and the youngsters i had been yacking with thought it was hilarious, like my sci fi book was the bible and i was deep in prayer. The music was soothing. Then i saw Exco Levi, he was okay, the band was great, Ikronik with others also. Then it was Fenton and the Reggae Angels, almost the same band, Ikronik and the usuals. Not as painful as you might think. I was waiting for the Congos, and they used the same backing. I thought it was going to be great, but it was like listening to three backup singers with no lead. I recorded it, but the last half is just on the gopro cameras. Again i got food and went back on the hill. Lets just say that Nahko and Medicine are not for all people. So i dragged my cart back up the hill with my equipment and that was it for me.

The food was all delicious that i tried, plantains with red tomato sauce and some stew over rice from the african place, a couple gyros, taquitoes, multiple visits to the thai place, lemonade, burgers, tri tip sandwich and korean taco. it never seemed that crowded getting food. maybe it was because i always went back to camp reasonably early.

The biggest negative for me, too much %&@#$ white boy reggae, or what seemed like it to me. ya i know, it's what the youngsters like, but it's not what i like. The PA sound this year did not seem as good to me as in prior years, the last two the sound was stellar. there were no fill speakers in front of the stage so those in the center got muddy sound. i heard a musician saying it was muddy on stage as well. Don't know what the difference was, just what i experienced.

All in all i had a great time, it was easier on me this year being not so hot. Got some great recordings, hooked up with the Mateel audio engineersmiling smiley , saw many friends and talked to a lot of friendly people. As far as the lineup, i felt like it was chopped and fitted because of Protoje and Mr. Williamz, and King Jammy cancelled thursday also. But in the end, seeing Emmanuel Jal was so incredible it makes up for anyone i missed. Mamacali, i can't thank you enough for suggesting him, it made the fest for me.

Love that reggae!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 05, 2015 03:21AM
Thanks for the review!

I listened to portions of the festival through stream. I enjoyed the Don Carlos set a lot, but Protoje would have pushed friday up a few notches. Also determined I definitely don't like Stick Figure.. Agreed about too much white boy reggae on the line up.

I had a friend who told me he had a free ticket for me if I could make the 3.5 hr drive down. I may have come down for a day and taken him up on the offer if the fires weren't raging so tuff right now... My biggest reason for skipping reggae this year is my personal distaste for Nahko at a REGGAE festival.. I listened to the Congos set in full, and allowed myself to listen to the first song of Medicine for the People. They sounded awkward and out of place. Nahko's voice sounded especially frog throated and irritating this set.. I turned the radio off during his first tune and knew I had made the correct decision to skip the drive and the stress to witness this moment in person. Also, the Congos really sounded lacking without Cedric..

I heard from a friend who lives right by the festival grounds that ticket sales were way low this year..
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 05, 2015 03:44AM
I finally realized there was a stream and caught Congos and Nahko. Im sure im gonna get flamed but I actually liked Nahko, never heard him before. I enjoyed his piano playing and some aspects of the act. Overall it was not my cup of tea but was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't listen to it at home but it fits in well in a festival vibe that needs other acts than just reggae and calipopgay. A version of Franti but more my taste.

The Congos,(who i regularly listen to at home and have many wax pieces that I treasure) well I would be extremely disappointed if I spent hard earned cash to see.

I have no desire to see acts that are a version of what was formerly great or that I have seen at X number of fests. No Culture without Joseph, No Steel Pulse without David singing, No Uhuru without Rose or Reid, NO Wailers and NO COngos without Cedric NO SIR. No Carlos, Moses, Eek A Mouse, Barington, NO SIR. IMO it is diluting reggae fests that should be spending their performance fees on the greats that are still around and rising talent. Attendance was down because the lineup was not anywhere of the calibre of what ROTR has been in the past 10 years.

Wish I would have tuned in for Cham and Taurus.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 05, 2015 06:20PM
"youngsters like that white boy reggae"
....yeah its too bad people get into the watered down stuff but probably cause that's what's being pushed by the mainstream....
ALSO some of this new generation are just apolitical, they want style without substance, they can't handle the whole weight, they don't want to care or think as much as roots and culture reggae will make you think.
They also don't want to feel on the outside that having to understand roots will make you feel at first.
They want instant acceptance.
As far as the authorities why do you think the US govt took everyones Visa?
They don't want Jamaican politics to spread to Americans esp. black Americans.
Watering down the culture is the order of the day.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 05, 2015 06:47PM
I am in full agreement with Strikkly!!! As A Black American Reggae Vetaran Artist Amha Selassie Baraka aka I-Triniti on stage. Roots Music and Rastafari Livity coes first and fore most and as it is known Bob Marley's goal was to connect to the Black Americans ancestor's of 20.000 Black Americans of African descent whom hit the streets when Mussolini attacked Ethiopia and also supported Marcus Garvey to the max! Black American Israelites/ Muslims/Christians and we are still here supporting Rastafari as Priest Prophets Kings and Queens. Blessid Love
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 05, 2015 07:25PM
Thanks for the detailed review Nomo, and glad you had a fun time.

I didnt go this year and watched several acts on the video stream including Katchafire, Don Carlos, Emannuel, parts of Ghetto Youth, Nahko and Alborosie. Several times the video was interupted by a message saying content is currently not available check back later. I thought it might be the result of a rolling blackout to conserve bandwidth, but perhaps not. Reminded me when I first watched TV in my house in 1954 with a flickering 8 inch TV with frequent technical interuptions. Anyway, the live streaming of concerts and festivals will be the wave of the future for entertainment, I will gladly pay for a technically excellent presentation.

As far as the musical acts this year, if I had gone I would have been really disappointed. For example, the Nahko act went on forever because Alborosie was 1 1/2 hours late, and it was extremely boring, low key and totally out of place for prime time Sunday at a major reggae festival.
Watching the people standing around, I felt bad for the crowd that had to endure that, it was embarrasing and I was so glad I wasn't there, I would have really been pissed and generally I'n not that picky about the performers. As far as the white reggae groups go, I'm thinking thats probably just a way to save money with cheap filler acts, nothing more. IMO, this festival was way over-priced at $200 to $240 for a 3 day ticket considering the lack of big name acts and really good smaller acts. I'm not surprised attendance was down. That was by far the worst ROTR lineup since 1991 when it first became a two-day festival. Not sure I'll ever go again and I've been to 15 ROTR's starting back in 1991.

Also, how did the shade tents work out this year, was there enuff shade for all?. Looked kinda small but perhaps they got by because the crowd was down and it wasnt too hot. I guess the flying shade sails they used the prior two years didnt work out.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 05, 2015 07:58PM
I heard that they snapped a couple lines on the flying shade sails and couldn't use them, got the tents at the last minute. There seemed to be enough shade considering the crowd size. It was crowded sat night.

Your two spaces were occupied about half the time, one to a concert goer, the other just a camper.

Various people have said the live video stream went in and out, but I think it was available for most acts. I doubt Marley let them stream.

One of the nice things about snwmf is that if there is a 'Nahko' on one stage, there's another one to check out.

Love that reggae!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 05, 2015 10:24PM
I watched several hours of the live stream over the weekend...it did go in and out a few times. I really dug Tarrus Riley's set, as well as Stephen Marley's set (yes, they did stream his set). I would love to attend ROTR one year, when the line-up is better. SNWMF still my favorite though.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 05, 2015 11:10PM
Its amazing that certain folk calling out white Rock Reggae as a delusion or cheap filler on this yah board yet if I a Black American Rastafari Adventist and Singer say it I'm considered a bitter racist to mention the facts the same way. I had a Roots Reggae show in Santa Rosa and Irie Fuse Ryan Lee came up to my guitarist and had on a large lion of Judah emblem on his jacket as if he was all about HIM and when I realized it was him stook out my hand for a shake and got a grim look right before my set started. This same person played in my band 3 years ago on keys when we opened for Barrington Levy at The newParrish where SJ Smoky didn't pay my band a cent and expected us to open and backline for free. I paly Roots I sing Roots I am Roots yet I am not in certain circles and not a popular figure as I choose to keep a low profile and also express myself with out having to try to be apart of an idea of Rastafari that fits the capoitalist ideal as I come from a community of Rastafari right here in America who are still owed reparations.. I open up my heart and tried to embrace all and JAH know still folks seem to not see there are many talented skilled Radical Roots Reggae artist right under their nose. I know there will come a time again when Music truly liberates and is not all exotic delusions and illusions of Rastafari Livity
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 05, 2015 11:29PM
I had a great time as I always do, much like at sierra nevada this year I spent more time with friends in camp and less time by the stage because the lineup just didnt hold me... not that either lineup was bad this year, just not the stacked lineups weve seen in the past
If mr williamz, king jammy, and proto had showed it wouldve really helped though

Respect Same Way
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 06, 2015 12:15AM
Nomo, if you have any Alborosie video, I would sure love to see it. I was all over the place during his set and I would sure love to see some video. It was my 1st time in back in years. No matter how much things change, some things stay the same. I agree the line up was not great, but as a total experience I had a great time and met some great people. I took my 2 yr old and 7 yr old so my priorities have somewhat changed but we all had a great time. I agree that it was pricey for the line up this year. ROTR is consistent in bringing in great line ups but even they can have a bad year. With the price we paid all I can do is hope next years line up is stellar. ROTR definitely needs some fine tuning. I hope they are aware of that and plan and organize alittle better for next year. In saying that I will definitely be back.


Big Up Reggae Massive
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 06, 2015 02:05AM
I don't have any Alborosie at all. I had no energy left at that point, the Congos killed me. But here's a video of Emmanuel Jal performing 'Emma':





Love that reggae!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 06, 2015 02:29AM
First let me start by saying that if I was ONLY there for the lineup I would have been very let down due to the last minute cancels.....I had a great 4 days with all of my friends, the river, the amazing venue, the great music I did get to hear, and the late night dj scene.

Thursdays highlight was Pablo Moses who threw down his classic style of roots in fine form. Besides some of Hirie the rest of Thursdays live music wasn't good at all.

Friday was nice having Don/Collie and then Cham ran it with his energy and was one of the best the weekend. The bands before Don were also just not very good. I'm not sure what people see in this Stick Figure band, def not for me.

Saturday I totally forgot about Army and missed all but 1 of his songs. I liked Emmanuel Jal, but was all over the place and not paying close enough attention to the story he had to tell (I will wait for your video Nomo). Ghetto Youths were nice, mostly it was Wayne Marshall that hit for me. Ce'Cile was the highlight for my Saturday and she really showed up Tarrus and Stephen IMO. Her energy and stage presence were in the top 3 all weekend and her vocal delivery was unmatched. Really, really loved Ce'Cile. I enjoyed Tarrus's set, but after the energy Ce'Cile had just brought before him.... he put a lot of people to sleep. Stephen just didn't do it for me this time. Again, he put people to sleep and just didn't have the vibz. What is up with him anyway? He has gained some serious weight, hope his health is ok?

Sunday brought the surprise of the weekend in Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba from Mali. This family of musicians was amazing to say the least. The instruments sounded unlike anything I have ever heard and I'm a big fan of African music. They had folks staring in wonder and dancing like crazy. They also had the best talking drum player I have ever scene. He could make sounds with that tiny drum that were bigger than life. So impressed by this band, if you ever get a chance make sure you check them. Exco Levi was one of the artists I wanted to see the most and he didn't disappoint. He sounded just like in studio and had great energy for earlier in the day (they moved him up so he could leave early). It was also funny watching, who I'm guessing is his wife sit in the back of the stage with his daughter and sing backup vocals. The Congos were not the Congos, nuff said. Nahko? Not good. Albo tore it up and was a great headliner to finish the festival. His band is one the best in reggae right now and Albo himself has such great tunes and energy. I really think he is underrated.

The late night DJ scene at both south beach and north beach went until 6am all 4 nights..........Not that I made it that late, but it was nice to hear the local djs for a bit after the venue closed down.

Another great time at ROTR.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 06, 2015 04:18AM
For all of you that didn't go, you missed out big time. I have been going to this festival since 1997 and never missed a year. The location, the vibe, the weather, the bands, the staff, the festival as a whole, and the river absolutely killed it. No offense but SNWMF's got it's ASS whooped by Reggae.

Also, having one stage gives everyone a chance to go chill at the camp site and get a beer or some food. I really like having one stage festivals.

No joke. I freaking fell in love with this festival again. The late night dancehall outside by the river till 4 in the morning is so much better than the bull spit indoor dancehall at Sierra. I would way rather be outside any day of the week.

Again, for those who missed out...you missed out hard. Best festival...hands down.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/06/2015 04:30AM by westafari.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 06, 2015 05:37PM
First off, this festival thing is not a competition. We are one commUNITY. Seen?

Ce'Cile, Alborosie & Exco Levi as anticipated, were my top three. I liked the Ghetto Youths set, I think Skip will get more refined. Dudes only like 17 or 18 and was hella nervous. Loved Wayne Marshall's vibe. Was bummed because I have not seen Protoje in a couple years.

Overall had a great time chilling with friends.
The temp/weather was perfect, give thanx for that!

Did anyone get caught on HWY 20? We luckily caught word and went down to 37. Blessings to all affected by these fires.

Positive Vibrations w/DJ Treez | Tahoe's Reggae Show | Thursday Nights 10pm | 101.5 FM KTKE | truckeetahoeradio.com
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 06, 2015 06:51PM
Quote
westafari

Also, having one stage gives everyone a chance to go chill at the camp site and get a beer or some food. I really like having one stage festivals.

Of course, not everyone, since if you camped off-site its most likely impractical to go chill at your campsite. I think its pretty hard to argue that a one stage festival is better then two.

I agree with you about the late night dancehall scene outdoors, likely much better then the indoor version at SNWMF.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 06, 2015 08:09PM
i prefer two stages, as then i can usually find something to listen to, and i'm not into going back to camp. i liked the two stage setup at Benbow. And if you like world music also, there's really no letup at ROTR. One thing i liked was that many of the sets seemed a bit longer than at snwmf.

Love that reggae!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 06, 2015 08:41PM
Nice thing about Cali roots is the stage rotation..everybody overlaps, u don't miss much....I wish SNWMF' s stages alteranated a bit more (strictly 2015 speaking).....I like ROTR one stage though....A little intermission to change clothes, drink up, or chase women.......Friday night was my favorite....CHAM and Collie buddz played one of his best shows IMHO....wished SNWMF would have a dancehall singer or two....Another Marley Shnoozer replay set by Stephen to close Saturday sucked. I liked Ce'Cile a lot.....Esco Levi was a great new addition.. DANCEHALL RULES!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 07, 2015 12:20AM
Well, for what it's worth, I watched a handful of artists via live video feed. The artists I chose to watch were the ones I've never seen in person; The Congoes, Exco Levi, Ce'Cile, Skip Marley, Black Am I and Emmanuel Jal. The highlight (for me) was Emmanuel Jal thumbs up by a long shot and biggest disappointment was, without a doubt, The Congoes thumbs down. I really liked Black Am I, but not impressed with Exco Levi or Ce'cile, and the jury is still out on Skip Marley...
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 07, 2015 12:25AM
Short Review:
Best day - Friday. Great music, vibes and atmosphere. Ok lineup overall. Weather was great apart from Thursday. On the fence about making this a regular pilgrimage.

Long Review:
This year I decided to go all out and attend as many festivals as I could, as I'd never been to one before. So I went to Fyah on the Water (Sacramento, CA), CA Roots Festival (Monterey, CA), Reggae in the Hills (Angel's Camp, CA), and Reggae on the River. The finale is going to be the Welcome To Jamrock Cruise!!

Tickets: No issues. Bought 4 Ambassador passes at various times, and an RV pass. I wanted hookups so the only choice was Richardson Grove Family Park across the road.

Customer Service: Not happy. As this was my first time attending, and I'd been told this was a massive event, etc, etc, I wanted to be sure I had all my questions answered (that's before I discovered this amazing forum!!) but unfortunately Charity Green only replies with one liners. My main questions were about the shaded areas for Ambassadors.

Got there Wednesday, crashed the RV first thing Thursday on the way to Richardson Grove. Only damage was to the RV and my pride, so RotR was still on! I thought I was going to be arrested. Nothing was going to stop me!

Got to Richardson Grove at 9am Thursday as RV hookups were limited and on a first come basis. Was told that the sites with hookups were reserved for larger RVs. WTF?? That's not first come! The campground was ok but in serious neglect. Men's bathrooms each had 1 shower and toilet, both absolutely disgusting. Ladies toilets were apparently nicer! They installed portapotties but they soon filled up and not pleasant.

Although RotR was across the road, once across, you had to walk a short distance down a small hill where registration was, shuttle to concert bowl, and pedi-cabs ($5pp going there, $10pp coming back as it's uphill). From this area, it's approx 1/2 mile along Bob Marley Blvd to the concert bowl. Walking would have been exhausting and dangerous as there were no pedestrian walkways and it was a free-for-all with cars, vans, pedi-cabs, so the shuttle ride often took long!

The river was ankle-deep and green, although they tested it daily and assured it was safe to swim. It was interesting to see the expanse over which cars, campers, RVs and tents were dotted around. One could already feel the party and anticipation just getting to the concert bowl.

At the entrance they supposedly 'check' for alcohol but all they do is ask you. Thursday was a hot day and also the crowd was much thinner. There were no shade sails, but instead had 2 large tented structures, one of which had a section for ADA and Ambassadors. But this area didn't have a sign and anyone could enter. There was also an Ambassador bar area (cool and contained within a tent structure) with 4 private portapotties. I have to say that I feel I wasted money buying the Ambassador passes as my two 18 yr olds couldn't use the bar area, even for the portapotties. There was no other reason to get them. However, I'll tell you, the portapotties were so convenient to use and they were clean unlike any others!

My day had already kinda been a bummer with the crash and all, but the last straw was when I heard Protoge, Mr Williamz and King Jammys had cancelled. I left early as I was already exhausted - I don't even recall right now who filled the slots!!

Friday was much busier and the best day for music in my opinion. Loved Collie and Cham. I've only ever listened to Jamaican or British reggae all my life, and have been mostly close minded about 'white bwoy reggae', or island reggae (hey, life is too short lol). However, after all these festivals, I've heard a lot of these bands and some aren't too bad, but I agree that mostly they are fillers. In any case, I got to see Emmanuel Jal and Army, both of whom I enjoyed on Saturday. Skip Marley...what can I say? He needs to find his style - right now he sounds like Stephen or almost 'generic'. Liked Wayne Marshall best. Tarrus was not bad but Stephen was sad to see. I've seen him several times and am not impressed with his live performances. Again, didn't stay the whole of his set as they were running over an hour behind! The place was pretty crowded that night. Sunday had interesting 'fillers' - I did enjoy Bassekou, Exco Levi, and I especially enjoyed The Congos deep rub-a-dub sound that I hadn't really heard the rest of the festival. I enjoyed their sound more than the group itself. I could have pulled my hair out that Reggae Angels are actually paid to perform! They actually weren't as bad as the first time I saw them (Hills), especially since I decided to take a nap smileys with beer . Several people had told me that Nakho was incredible (their words, although I should have suspected something when the 16 yr old girl who told me was almost in tears of awe while describing him). Alborosie killed it for the closing act. I did really enjoy it, maybe cos I had had a few bevvies that evening! In any case, I respect his work.

The DJs who played inbetween sets were ok - wish the volume was louder. Played a lot of Chronixx, Protoge, Kabaka, Jah Bouks. Never made it to the after parties as I need my sleep, but I hear they were great. Really wish I had gone to at least one.

Overall, I liked the fact there was just one stage so you could just plop yourself down and whatever. Hills had 2 stages next to each other which was also good as you didn't have to move around. Just my pref.

There was no visible security anywhere in the bowl, other than the entrance to the Ambassador tent. There were free water fountains but the water tasted funny lol. There wasn't much for kids even though they had a 'kidlandia'. There was no phone signal for AT&T anywhere in the area. I paid for wifi that rarely and barely worked. It was frustrating but kinda nice at the same time to be away from the world!

Would I go back again? Maybe in a few years, but never say never, right? At least now I know what I didn't know before!!

Respect to all of the contributors and readers! As they say "Happy Reggae!"



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2015 04:50AM by Ras Gudka.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 07, 2015 02:46AM
.

Love that reggae!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/2015 03:06AM by nomotrouble.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 07, 2015 03:06AM
Strikkly, what you're saying above is the absolute unequivocal, truth!

But I say... Some Never Even Plant yet want to Reap,
If you run, be careful, try to look before you leap;
Took a little walk from my Vineyard...
Now I'm on my own
Now I'm left alone..
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 07, 2015 04:05AM
Good review Ras Gudka. I have never brought an RV to Reggae because it's all political. Your right, when Charity Green emails back, it's garbage. I would bring a huge tent and a bunch of canopies next time and try to find a great spot near one of the deep water holes. Show up at 6 am on Thursday and physically run in. Save your money on the RV for another trip. Now you know why the RV passes don't sell out. It's a total joke. Also, camp on site. It's easier on the feet and I feel you meet more neighbors. Just my opinion. One love.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 07, 2015 07:47AM
Went to both SNWMF and ROTR this year. Oh yes. good times. I am thankful for the great artists, good vibes and fun times. Time wise, I only could swing one day of snwmf, but saw jesse royal, meta, and a fantastic ken boothe performance. Max romeo alone was worth it. liked taj weekes also. rest of line up was just so so for me. seen cliff a few times and not too into third world. could not see yellowman nor thievery corp, which apparently were both solid. both snwmf and rotr line ups were a bit weaker than in years past in my view. as far as rotr goes, im only on my fourth consecutive year, even tough i've lived in sf since before rotr and been a reggae fan since I was a young teen in Europe.(never forgot seeing tosh at montreux jazz fest!)

there is something about rotr that is daunting. when you make that turn on 101 and see that site and all those parked cars and tents and people, its just an awesome sight. rotr can be tough and much harder than snwmf in a way. last few years weather was so fricking hot it made it hard to enjoy. same with snwmf this year. but this year, weather much better at rotr.

VERY disappointed that protoje bailed. I almost did not attend as he was main reason for me to go. he killed it at snwmf a few years ago, first I ever heard of him. saw him at new parish later and he killed it again. anyway, I am so glad I went to rotr. even with a weaker line up, its such a great time!!

first timer at Richardson grove. great set up. I wiped out on my way to the fest as I was newbe and had headed for river, lamely tripped, massive road rash on calf, washed it up in river and am still alive, so much for toxic algae. thank you rock/rasta med. patch me up good with bandage on me leg all weekend. wont stop ini from sharing the good vibes.

I was only able to get to stage Friday around 5 so missed stick figure which I was curious about, but apparently not that great.
saw katchafire - they were good, but just ok for me - I prefer deeper roots style. don carlos to the rescue. very good but no protoje. collie and cham. entertaining, but too much dancehall, ini prefer roots man.

late night till 4 am Friday. first dj there was kinda weak too much hip hop gangsta stuff, second dj better. great sound system!

walked in darkness to Richardson round 4 am.

Saturday rose late, saw most of army which I liked, love VI sounds. liked alerta kamada, love to see women perform! woman power! alerta was actually pretty good and to me was a surprise. colombianas! then Emmanuel Jai, fun music. could have done without his spoken word. I get it. sudan, child soldier no joke. message good. but kinda bummed me out as I was dancing with some chicas. still a remarkable performance.

Ghetto youth, wayne was best in my view.

Cecile - she KILLED IT. She blew me away. what a great stage presence, she owned that stage, so fierce, great voice, great time. My personal highlight of the festival. not sure if nomo got the video. hope so (thx nomo for all your fine work btw). I had seen tarrus last year at rotr for first time. liked him better this time, he was fun. I could pass on Stephen Marley after 5 songs I was done. and headed for south beach.

I agree with earlier comment about late night dj. that is very cool scene. loved dj green b set, beautiful dancing women, excellent sound. I was there till 5:30 am! that was something.

next day I had planned on bailing, but got in to the bowl free somehow. I saw that band from mali - bassekou they were great fun. great to see world music. great musician, love that weird African bass guitar.

then I was pleased as punch to hear exco levi was gonna be next as opposed to reggae angels. I saw the angels once at the independent in sf years ago open for the Abyssinians, they played way way too long, and it was enough. their lead singer was annoying when doncarlos was on stage on Friday, taking pictures, etc. get off the stage! you're not playing! I don't like to hate, but c'mon...the whole set?

noticed exco levi's back up singer was way in the back too. not super impressed with him, but he was good. regretfully had to bail on congos and head back to sf. heard them on radio on way home, love their sound. just a great record - heart of the congo. I have no frame of reference as I have never seen them, but they sounded ok to me. hard landing back to reality!

rotr is growing on me. loved the outdoor dj scene - much different than SNWMF dancehall. better in many ways

looking forward to stronger line ups at both fests next year - still feeling blessed for the good vibes and good times. thank you promoters, artists and attendees! Blessings to all!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2015 07:51AM by Sense.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 07, 2015 09:00PM
Well thank you to all who wrote amazing posts about the festival! I really enjoyed my time at ROTR last year and would have loved to have been there this year. I missed the river, the sun, the people and the vibes let alone the music and culture. I cannot wait for next summer and look forward to SNWMF and ROTR! NOMO thank you for all that you continue to do, I look forward to your videos as always.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 08, 2015 12:43AM
1st time for me.

Epic sounds and visceral visuals.

I agree with whomever mentioned bending that corner as you drive down to the fest....colorful, pulsating mass of humanity, thousands of people all gathering. Pretty sweet.

I didnt see one fight. I didnt have one hassle.
Got there Thursday evening around 9pm, still had some light, enough to pitch a tent out in the parking lot. At that point we had our pickings of where to set up. My 2 long time VI's from school days made the trek with me. Neither knew how to pitch a tent, so it was up to the bingster. smiling smiley
The walk from camp to fest. grounds was a long one, so long i eventually started running it to make it less arduous.

Weather was good...93 or so thursday, cooler on friday, sat and sunday.

The river: Mostly knee deep and algae filled...but we found 15' deep swimming hole where the eel bends the corner at end of field/parking lot. I was told i would turn into some kind of CDC patient if i went in. I'm still OK.

Showers: $8 for hot and u wait in line. Free and no line for the co-ed cold showers..that was best option for me. Cold shower a dweet for the refresh.

Food: I only ate at one place...the vegan jamaican spot...which I later found out was one of the Wailing Souls lead singers' booth. Best fuel ever.
Oh...Lydia's organics had this cold pressed green soup...cilantro, kale, cucumber, avocado..that was an instant heights up.

Music: Due to the fest being so surreal with so many sights and things to do, I didnt mind the lineup. Live music on a big stage w/ pro musicians is all OK with me.
That said.....I find that the whole Collie Buddz vibes does not flow melodically. His voice isnt that big of a voice, his backup singers carry him thu a lot. Dont get me wrong, he's got some HUGE studio works but wasnt feeling him headlining a big fete like rotr.
Alborosie: This guy comes off as a circus clown. his antics. his talk. His remake and recut and carbon copy vibes does absolutley nothing for me. His band is ALWAYS stellar, though.

Don Carlos is as good as any performer, anywhere. That man is just pure joy to watch & listen to. I would go to a Don show any time.

Army on Saturday in the hot sun was MASSSIVE. Almost messed up and didnt go see him because #1 I didnt know he was on the bill and #2 we were sitting at the camp cooolin when we heard his voice and it was so crisp and clear we all said 'look, they running some Army tunes,' but it was actually him Live. Run we did run right to the front of big stage to catch the rest.

Cham was pro pro pro. I know he's hard on more traditional reggae lovers ears but he ran his thing very crisp, very pro.

I missed Cecile...not sure why?

I listened to Tarrus from the campground but he sounded BIG.
Nahko on Sunday WAS sweet...real folky rootsy vibes but....uniquely different. Top notch none the less.

Late night dancehalls went hard. All DJ's I saw put it down but Jacques & Relic Secure had me (trying to) jump up with every tune. That rock stone dance floor will mess up anyones moves.

My one i-dren flew in from Brooklyn and he was like a kid at the candy shop...He NEVER came back to the camp, just stayed up whole night all wknd. He slept in my studio for 2 days straight when we got back...str8 crash out.

ROTR is great. SNWMF is great. Cali has it good, real good.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 08, 2015 01:35AM
B-ghost-- I know Alborosie doesn't come accross as a true original, but he crafts some great tunes, has a stellar band, is professional, and generally seems to enjoy what he's doing. So in my book he is a.o.k.

Collie buddz on the other hand, while still having some big studio hits, is terrible live. I tried checking him on the main stage at SNWMF a few years ago, and immediately returned to the village stage after hearing one song. No voice and no stage presence.

Peace
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 08, 2015 01:53AM
One of the cool parts of reggae on the river this year was actually seeing and hanging with b.ghost at his virgin appearance. That was fun binghi!

Love that reggae!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 08, 2015 01:59AM
I have really appreciated the love and honest criticism about ROTR 2015. I agree with DJ Tree. There is no competiton.... Two great fests in Nor Cal!!!! And to me what makes it so wonderful is that they are different in many ways which makes each enjoyable in their own way. I love the second stage at SNWMF because it's in such a beautiful setting. And going between 2 stages gives me the opportunity to burn off some of the pizza and pita bread and wear off Lydia's raw chocolate (it's like a drug). And camping at French"s can be a very RAW experience. Each feat has it's own vibe and I take it all in...............Here's a link to some of my photos of the artists at ROTR............

[www.flickr.com]
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 08, 2015 02:03AM
Nomo! Great to sight you big man, and reasoning in that 3d artists gallery was vibes...what was that guys name anyhow?

Reggabe...agreed. I kno hes talented...i kno he crafts some major riddims, has been doing his thing etc but me myself will take don carlos over albo and exco levi over collie buddz any time
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 08, 2015 05:08AM
best paragraph of any review I read so far!thumbs upthumbs up

Quote
b.ghost
Army on Saturday in the hot sun was MASSSIVE. Almost messed up and didnt go see him because #1 I didnt know he was on the bill and #2 we were sitting at the camp cooolin when we heard his voice and it was so crisp and clear we all said 'look, they running some Army tunes,' but it was actually him Live. Run we did run right to the front of big stage to catch the rest.
booomm!!!

--
blessid love
ras danny
higher reasoning reggae time
KBOO Portland, Full Strength Community Radio
*Love is a net that catches hearts like fish.*
-Muhammad Ali
*I don't like reggae, I love it*
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 08, 2015 02:39PM
Quote
papajoshua
I have no desire to see acts that are a version of what was formerly great or that I have seen at X number of fests. No Culture without Joseph, No Steel Pulse without David singing, No Uhuru without Rose or Reid, NO Wailers and NO COngos without Cedric NO SIR. No Carlos, Moses, Eek A Mouse, Barington, NO SIR. IMO it is diluting reggae fests that should be spending their performance fees on the greats that are still around and rising talent.
FULL ENDORSEMENT PAPA J.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 08, 2015 02:52PM
Thanks for the kind words papaken.
Good to hear Cecile RIPPED IT....been in love with her from longtime.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 08, 2015 06:27PM
binghi, that was Matt Jones. [mattjonesart.com]

Here he is painting in a Midnite show, he comes on at the 1:10 mark:





Love that reggae!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 09, 2015 09:04PM
These Live Streams of these Reggae Festivals are really great --- ok, I’m being extra selfish because I’ve usually prefer artists’ studio recordings over live shows so with these streams, it’s sort of like being there but with your kitchen and bathroom readily available spinning smiley sticking its tongue out Ahhh, and another bonus, you don’t have to listen to some lunk head in the audience try and out-scream-sing the artist on stage or yell out “Jar Rasterfuri” every 9 minutes --- oh, and no hula-hoopers --- hula-hoopers scare me more than white guys with dreads and no beards.

Annnnyways, – good to see some honest reviews here instead of the usual candy-coated reviews of “every thing was so irie, great seeing some of my idrens and homies, blah blah blah”…

So maybe I’m just getting bored with certain levels of [live] Reggae [shows] because after watching Ketchafire, Don Carlos, Collie Budz, Wayne Marshall, Ce’Cile, Tarrus Riley, Reggae Angels, Exco Levi, The Congos, Nahko and Medicine for the People and Alborosie --- the most exciting and memorable moment of the weekend’s Live Stream for me was Irie Dole’s DJ set before Don Carlos came on stage.

At least I felt a sincere surge of energy from Irie Dole’s entertaining delivery. Things got so bland and bad with Ce’Cile and Collie Budz, I was tempted to tackle some unfinished crossword puzzles that were sitting nearby.

But as indifferent as I felt watching these acts, the one that had me really reaching for my trash can was Alborosie. Ok, I like him as a studio musician but has this guy hit his head with his own dreadlocks one too many times? Binghi Ghost sums Alborosie up perfectly: “circus clown” tongue sticking out smiley

Can Alborosie trivialize (his) ‘dreadlocks’ anymore than he has already done? Whipping his dreadlocks in circles like he’s about ready to rope in a steer, that was special. Did he pretend his dreads were a shotgun this time? I’m just waiting for him to stick one his dreads down his pants and sing a love song to all the ladies… he’ll stop midway in his song and ask the ladies if they like ‘Naughty Dreads’ like him.

Other than that, aside from wondering if the Reggae Angels were going to play a set that lasted longer than the California drought, or pondering if the great Don Carlos will one day mix up his set list or be backed by a grittier band, I couldn’t help but ask what in the world happened to Nahko and Medicine for the People?

Speaking of Live Streams & Nahko, did anyone else catch the first 30 minutes of their 2014 Cali Roots performance ? Normally, I don’t get too excited with bands like Nahko but their 2014 Cali Roots set blew me away! I liked that set so much, I’ve watched it a bunch of times. Fast forward to their ROTR 2015 set and I could only ask myself, what happened to Nahko? Ok, two of the band members were different but generally speaking, it appears as if they’ve become much too slick, in every sense.

One last thing/question before I stop babbling. The clouds from the crowd were pretty strong during the opening moments of the Congos set. Anyone else remember way back when, when it was much tighter when it came to herb and Reggae festivals aka ‘Tired Fi Lick Weed Inna Porta Pottie’ ?? We were so pumped up to see the Reggae artists though, believe it or not, herb was no where near the top of our ‘must have’ lists… seeing a group like the Itals [with Ronnie Davis there] backed by the Roots Radics, it was tough to get much higher than that… so pardon the pun(s) please, but how big of a hit would Reggae festivals take if herb was ever 'scaled' down ? Don't panic, it's just a question spinning smiley sticking its tongue out
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 09, 2015 11:50PM
Hahah!! Good question - I actually wondered the same myself. It was the largest collection of stoners I'd seen!

In my opinion, scaling back weed would seriously make people think twice. I myself don't go back to bars or venues where herb isn't allowed. I don't mind a separate smoking area, but an outright ban would be a problem for me! I'm going on the Jamrock cruise this year and my only concern is obtaining herb onboard.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 10, 2015 12:15AM
Quote
Ras Gudka
Hahah!! Good question - I actually wondered the same myself. It was the largest collection of stoners I'd seen!

In my opinion, scaling back weed would seriously make people think twice. I myself don't go back to bars or venues where herb isn't allowed. I don't mind a separate smoking area, but an outright ban would be a problem for me! I'm going on the Jamrock cruise this year and my only concern is obtaining herb onboard.

i had the same thoughts while reading the reggae cruise thread.. seemed folks were more into smoking weed than the actual love of the music... i started to think this is more of a weed cruise billed as a floating reggae event..
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 10, 2015 02:41AM
Reggaefan, when i went to concerts in socal in the late 1970's, thats the way it was, you could not smoke anywhere, and were subject to search by police every time you went to the Forum in LA. There were stories of lines of cops and barrels of contraband, and i saw it myself on new years of i think 1978 at the Forum. i hid mine very well but if they felt your pocket and you had a film canister or something that could hold weed, they searched you. i saw a garbage can 3/4 full of joints, pills, booze, man i wanted it. But my point is that people still went because it was like that everywhere and if you wanted to hear the music thats what you put up with. you could still get away with it if you were careful, for short periods of time.

Now, if a venue comes down hard on folks, i avoid it, because i have plenty of choices where its cool.

Love that reggae!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 10, 2015 02:58AM
My first ROTR and I LOVED IT! To answer the ? first, NO WAY would this show be as big a hit with out herb and other party favors. Most seemed to be there for "the party". And oh what a party it was! Better than SNWMF? As a party yes, as a musical festival not IMHO. Very close though. The Press tent, for instance is TOP NOTCH! The level I strive to help get ours to. Crew kitchen, nothing short of amazing! Everyone at Admissions I encountered was helpful and polite. Parking was a bit disorganized at times. The whole staff was really great from my perspective. HUGE shout out to our own "SisLisha" Alisha Goodrich for her countless hours of hard work at both SNWMF and ROTR! She really puts her heart and soul into it and is a sweet person to boot. The vendors were all awesome as well. I got to work vendor booth with World Of Reggae, shuttle crew, as well as press! I was a busy bee but thoroughly enjoyed each moment. Weather was nice but HOT! Thursday especially. Felt like at least 100, but with the free outdoor showers, lots of fluids, and a handy little spray bottle fan from Humboldt Republic, it was manageable. Now to the music. The line-up was a tad thin for me, especially since this was a 4 day event. I was grateful though, as I would have missed a lot more than I already did. I got to catch Pablo, Exsco Levi, The Congos, Albo, Stephen Marley, Alerta Karmarada, Tarrus Riley, and a tad of Don. I thought everyone was on point. Levi was BIG for me! Had a great presence and humility, with a diverse array of tunes. Modern roots, dancehall, lovers he played it all. Pablo was rude and rough as usual. Reggae OG. I really enjoyed The Congos. I know I am in the minority on this, but I don't care. I love them. The female does ok filling in the falsetto slot. Watty's baritone is legendary! .......TBC

~Highest Heightz Every Time~
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 11, 2015 04:03AM
Can someone please describe in detail what goes on at the late night sound system events on the North and South beach.

In all the years Ive been to ROTR, I have never had the opportunity to get down there to see for myself whats happening; Thats because I dont camp at the venue and there is no way I can spend 12 hours at the music bowl and then hit the late night dancehall on the rocks and then hike 3/4 of mile back to Richardsons Grove SP with all my gear at 4am. Maybe when I was 20 and on speed but now its either one or the other for me and especially so since I'm with my wife and Im lucky she even puts up with the camping and the long hike up that hill back to the campground after the live music ends.

Sooo, here are a couple of questions that come to mind:

How big are the crowds? Are people dancing, is there a place to dance?

Are these somewhat organized events with big sound systems at specific locations on the river?

Are there any videos or pictures posted anywhere of these events?

As a side note, what if someone promoted a reggae festival where it was just late night sound system DJ music with drum chicken and dancehall queens and with camping for two or three days at a great location...I know I would be interested in something like that, how bout you?
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 11, 2015 04:51AM
Quote
Rhythmwize
Can someone please describe in detail what goes on at the late night sound system events on the North and South beach.

In all the years Ive been to ROTR, I have never had the opportunity to get down there to see for myself whats happening; Thats because I dont camp at the venue and there is no way I can spend 12 hours at the music bowl and then hit the late night dancehall on the rocks and then hike 3/4 of mile back to Richardsons Grove SP with all my gear at 4am. Maybe when I was 20 and on speed but now its either one or the other for me and especially so since I'm with my wife and Im lucky she even puts up with the camping and the long hike up that hill back to the campground after the live music ends.

Sooo, here are a couple of questions that come to mind:

How big are the crowds? Are people dancing, is there a place to dance?

Are these somewhat organized events with big sound systems at specific locations on the river?

Are there any videos or pictures posted anywhere of these events?

As a side note, what if someone promoted a reggae festival where it was just late night sound system DJ music with drum chicken and dancehall queens and with camping for two or three days at a great location...I know I would be interested in something like that, how bout you?


The heavens open and his majesties sound slams through the speakers until almost sunrise. The music is loud and is sped up so there is always bass pumping, it doesn't matter if you are one inch from the speakers or 200 feet away, you will vibrate in celebration. There is a charm to live music being performed, but there is likewise a je ne sais quoi to songs played at their max audio level that spotlight great studio produced reggae. The DJ's know their chance to shine so you get their best mix in my opinion.

Regarding being tired, well all I can say is I have slept through some headliners so I can vibe till 5am lol



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2015 05:47AM by AztecRasta.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 12, 2015 11:03PM
Quote
nomotrouble
Reggaefan, when i went to concerts in socal in the late 1970's, thats the way it was, you could not smoke anywhere, and were subject to search by police every time you went to the Forum in LA. There were stories of lines of cops and barrels of contraband, and i saw it myself on new years of i think 1978 at the Forum. i hid mine very well but if they felt your pocket and you had a film canister or something that could hold weed, they searched you. i saw a garbage can 3/4 full of joints, pills, booze, man i wanted it. But my point is that people still went because it was like that everywhere and if you wanted to hear the music thats what you put up with. you could still get away with it if you were careful, for short periods of time.

Now, if a venue comes down hard on folks, i avoid it, because i have plenty of choices where its cool.

Glad I grew up in Santa Cruz/Bay Area! There was ALWAYS a big cloud at the front (this was back when you could always waltz to the front, general admission stylee). In the seats you had to keep an eye out, but in front all the lighters came out at once when the house lights went out. In all the (literally hundreds) of shows over the years, I can only think of one where a friend was asked to leave for toking. It was Guns and Roses opening for the Cult at the SC Civic, there was smoke everywhere, and we were passing it around like 10 people (in the seats), but for some reason they decided to make an example out of Bryan (RIP). Worst part was we had all come from/were heading back to his house, so he had to kick it outside for the entire Cult set.

My wife Jessica is a big Zac Brown fan, so we just got some tix to his upcoming show in Wheatland. I was surprised to see a standing only GA pit in the very front. Those are the tix we got (all the seats were gone by the time the general public tix went on sale. The whole CC pre-sale, Stub Hub, resale ticket thing really pisses me off. TicketMaster re-selling tix they just sold the day before during a presale should be f-ing illegal - period!). I preferred the way it used to be, when almost ALL shows were GA, and you got whatever seats you wanted based on first-come, first served - and getting withing a few feet of the artists was always an option for everyone if you didn't mind squeezing through the crowd! Oh - and most shows were $8.50!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 12, 2015 11:13PM
Oh - back to the topic! lol I watched some of show streaming. Congos were lacking without direction (sounded rather dubby, missing a strong lead), Nahko was boring and Alborosie wasn't at his best. The only act that I caught that really impressed me was Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba. The talking drum players trading off was EPIC! And what exactly was Kouyate playing? It looked (on my TV) like he only had one string on that thing, but he was getting far more range that one would think possible! Cool tone - will be checking them out.

Miss the river, etc - but not too bummed I missed this year...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2015 11:14PM by Dubguy.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 13, 2015 03:37PM
Ngoni
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 13, 2015 09:10PM
Great comments guys and gals, thanks!

Love that reggae!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 14, 2015 05:59PM
..i must say Alborosie show at SNWMF was better than Alborosie ROTR this year......Nahko might make my overrated list....I heard the talking drum from the river, it sounded great...I wish I was up there for it. But since I missed some of the afternoon entertainment on heat timeout. It made for a solid lineup throughout. Taurus is always good.
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 14, 2015 10:05PM
Quote
internal_strength
Ngoni

Got it! And here I was thinking Ngoni Ba was the lady that was singing, ha! Learn something every day..!
Re: Reggae on the River reviews
August 31, 2015 06:07PM
Reggae fan, I need to know your ID beCause I think I love u
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