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Cali Vibes returns to Long Beach with a mix of reggae, rock and rap music

Southern California beach culture, hip-hop icons and island vibes and sounds are all coming together as the second annual Cali Vibes music festival returns to Marina Green Park in Long Beach Feb. 17-19.

“This is a celebration through music of the California lifestyle, with one of those main pillars being the water,” said Nic Adler, vice president of festivals for concert giant Goldenvoice, producers of the three-day fest, which includes a robust lineup of reggae and rock music acts while also highlighting several hip-hop artists.

“Almost all the bands come from the water, they’re surfers, they’re beach culture, there’s a DNA of reggae past and reggae future,” Adler continued. “We can talk all about the beach and water, but this is in Long Beach, and Long Beach has produced some of the best hip-hop acts of all time. Hip-hop is just crucial in this mix. All of these bands look up to Snoop, whether they’re playing reggae or rock or hip-hop, Snoop’s a legend.”

Tash Sultana will perform at the Cali Vibes Festival in Long Beach on Sunday, Feb. 19. (Photo by Kelly A. Swift, Contributing Photographer)

Stephen Marley (right) will perform at the Cali Vibes Festival in Long Beach on Sunday, Feb. 19. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

Ben Harper will perform at the Cali Vibes Festival in Long Beach on Sunday, Feb. 19. (Photo courtesy Evil Vince)

Huntington Beach-based reggae rock band Dirty Heads will headline the Cali Vibes Festival in Long Beach on Saturday, Feb. 18. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, contributing photographer)

Rap icon and Long Beach native Snoop Dogg will perform a special Saturday night set at the Cali Vibes Festival in Long Beach on Feb. 18. (Photo by Amy Sussman, Getty Images)

Rock band 311 will perform at the Cali Vibes Festival in Long Beach on Friday, Feb. 17. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

Nick Hexum of the band 311 (pictured performing at the BeachLife Festival in Redondo Beach on Friday, May 13, 2022) is now set to return to the beach for the Cali Vibes Festival, which will be held at Marina Green Park Feb. 17-19 in Long Beach. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

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Long Beach rap Icon Snoop Dogg will also be performing at Cali Vibes this year, doing a special evening jam set on Saturday, Feb. 18. Former pro surfer and soulful beach rocker Jack Johnson will also be doing a special evening jam session on Sunday, Feb. 19.

In all, the long weekend fest will include about five dozen acts performing across three stages. Rebelution, Stick Figure and 311 lead the charge on Feb. 17, while Dirty Heads, Damian Marley and Cypress Hill keep the party going on Feb. 18. Slightly Stoopid, Tash Sultana and Stephen Marley close out the fest on Feb. 19. Pepper, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Rome & Duddy, Trevor Hall, Warren G, Method Man & Redman, Common Kings, Fortunate Youth, Matisyahu, Soja, Steel Pulse, Collie Buddz, Iya Terra, Ozomatli featuring Chali 2na and Cut Chemist, Hirie and more will also perform.

“To me, if you look at what that California sound is, a lot of it sits inside this lineup,” Adler said. “These are all bands that are just fun. It’s just easy fun, good-listening music and what festivals should be about.”

The festival will also showcase up-and-coming Caribbean talent on its BoomYard Stage, which was created to give locals a taste of what’s happening with island music.

“We just felt that if we’re going to say the word reggae and really put it on display, then it was our responsibility to show what the future of the music is and that’s really what’s come out of BoomYard,” Adler said. “It’s this very authentic, very on the level, what’s trending right now in the islands. Not what’s hot here in L.A. or what’s hot in the states, but what are the hottest artists on the streets of Jamaica right now? That’s happening at Cali Vibes.”

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While Cali Vibes is about bands that exemplify that beach lifestyle, the acts don’t all necessarily all come from seaside communities.

“Our band has always loved tropical vibes even though we’re from Nebraska, I could not wait to get out to the coast,” said Nick Hexum, frontman of rock, alternative and reggae band 311, who really made a name for themselves upon relocating to Los Angeles.

At this point, 311 has rocked by the sand many times throughout their career.

The last time they played a big beach festival was Redondo Beach’s BeachLife last year, where their breezy party-vibe hits like “Come Original,” “Down,” and “Do You Right” had the crowd dancing in the sand.

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They plan on bringing that same energy to Long Beach this year.

“What you can expect is sunshiny vibes, positive vibrations going on, some good times, dancing and sweating and shredding guitars,” Hexum assured.

He reported that the band has also been working on new songs and demos at their studio in North Hollywood, famously dubbed The Hive.

“I wouldn’t say we’re that far along so no announcements, but I’m interested in rocking a little harder,” he added.

The band also has a connection to fellow festival performer Snoop Dogg, who opened shows for the group on past tours. Hexum said the hip-hop legend even gave him a nickname.

“Whenever Snoop sees me he calls me Slick Nick,” he said. “It’s a badge of honor that I have a nickname from Snoop Dogg. I think I’m just a cool and mellow fellow and he sensed that so I became Slick Nick.”

Goldenvoice, which also produces the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, launched Cali Vibes in February 2022 with a lineup that featured more than 50 acts. The concert promoter previously produced the One Love Cali Reggae Festival, which ran for five years and last took place just outside of the Queen Mary in February 2020. It included many of the same acts as Cali Vibes, like 311, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Dirty Heads and others.

Relocating Cali Vibes to the new spot, just across the bay in downtown Long Beach, definitely fits in with the entire vibe of the festival, Adler said.

“You have the city of Long Beach behind it, so knowing you’re in an urban environment, then you turn and you have green grass, ocean, the beach and a stage, it’s just all there for you,” he explained. “If we’re trying to celebrate music and California culture … it’s city, street, beach, waves, it’s all right there for you on that site.”

Cali Vibes

When: Noon Friday, Feb. 17-Sunday, Feb. 19

Where: Marina Green Park, 400 E. Shoreline Drive, Long Beach

Tickets: Three-day general admission passes start at $330; VIP weekend passes start at $475; Single-day passes start at $150 for general admission. All passes are available at calivibesfest.com.

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