Photos & Highlights: The Reggae in the Hills Experience #RITH2014 June 13 – 15

Photos & Highlights: The Reggae in the Hills Experience #RITH2014 June 13 – 15

Photography & Feature by Empress K  – Founder & Editor www.ReggaeReflection.com

Calaveras CountyWelcome to Calaveras County

Welcome to Calaveras County  –  The sign says it all.  After  a nearly three hour drive through the scenic goldrush country route from  San Francisco to Calaveras County,  I knew that the Reggae in the Hills experience was close by.  The summer Reggae festival season kicked off a bit earlier for me than usual as I headed to the West Coast to experience the 3rd  Annual Reggae in the Hills.   Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, this young and expanding  three day camping festival at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds featured an eclectic mixture of top Caribbean Reggae, Cali Roots Rock Reggae and Hawaiian Reggae acts.   

Reggae in the Hills Line-upReggae in the Hills Line-up

Over the course of 3 days, over 24 Reggae bands were featured on one of the two live band stages.   A third stage located within the main campground area featured additional late night performances, which were hosted by Stay Positive Sound on Friday and Mystic Roots on Saturday.  Gates opened at noon on Friday allowing early guests to set up their campsite in time for the 3:00pm kickoff of live music.   

The headliners for the opening evening included the Californian Roots Reggae Band, Fortunate Youth, back by popular demand for their 3rd year in a row.    New to the line-up this year was headliner Collie Buddz from the Isle of Bermuda promoting his recent hit single “Light it Up”.  Collie Buddz  started off his set with his popular song “I feel so good” , which summed up the opening night experience for the crowd at Reggae in the Hills.  He continued that  feel good vibe with a string of well known hits from his extensive song catalog including his mega hits “Come Around” and “Blind to You”. 


Reggae in the Hills at the Calaveras County Campground

Calaveras County Fairgrounds Reggae in the Hills

A man made creek winds it way through perfectly shaded stage front areas

Picture

A father and son stroll through the garden mister, a place to cool off mid-day.

Picture

View of the Main Stage

 Fortunate Youth and Collie Buddz headline opening night. 

Picture

Fortunate Youth

Picture

Collie Buddz

Picture

Collie Buddz

Picture

Dan Kelly of Fortunate Youth

Picture

Collie Buddz

Day 2 of Reggae in the Hills

Marlon AhserMarlon Asher ” The Ganja Farmer”

Saturday was the longest day of the festival, jam packed  with live music throughout the day.  Live music  started early at 11:00am and went straight through until after midnight.  Bands performed on both the main stage and on the nearby side stage to keep band change time to a minimum. 

King Schascha a native of Trinidad and Tobago kicked off the day with a set on the main stage.  Marlon Asher also hailing from Trinidad and Tobago performed for the 2nd year in a row  spicing up the mid-afternoon with an enjoyable set including  his well known Ganja anthem “The Ganja Farmer”.   

Junior Toots  another fan favorite band returned to Reggae in the Hills for his 2nd time and had a great set on the side stage.  Other  popular acts from past years were also present for the 2014 edition of Reggae in the Hills, including Hawaiian and Cali  Reggae bands such as Natty Vibes, Mystic Roots, Arden Park Roots.


Picture

Luciano on tour with  the Cali based Jamaican Reggae band IKronik started with an opening set by IKronik.  Luciano then raised the conscious Reggae vibes to yet another level, delivering a spiritual performance for his many fans.  Fans rushed to greet Luciano after his performance where he took time to have a meet and greet for autographs and photo opportunities. 

Making their debut performance at Reggae in the Hills, the highly anticipated performance of  Tribal Seeds did not disappoint the crowd with their high energy set.  Tribal Seeds, based out of San Diego made their appearance at Reggae in the Hills prior to commencing their tour in support of their 4th album “Representing”, released in May.  Best known for fusing Rock with Roots Reggae, their latest release debuted at number one on both the Billboard Reggae and iTunes Charts. 

For a late evening set, there was no better choice than to have veteran performer Junior Reid close out a stellar day of music  with the next generation of his One Blood family on hand consisting of  Andrew Blood, Wada Blood 
and Young JR  “Ju Ju Blood”.  Junior Reid’s set included many of his  popular songs and a preview of material from his upcoming album. The climax of his set occurred when he performed his anthem song “One Blood” with its powerful message of love and unity in both English and Spanish.  As a final part of his set, the entire One Blood Family joined on stage to end the evening on a dancehall vibe. 


Picture

Lead Singer Steven Rene Jacobo of Tribal Seeds

Picture

Young J.R. JuJu Reid

Jr Toots Reggae in the Hills

Junior Toots

Picture

Luciano

Picture

E.N. Young of Tribal Seeds

Wada Blood

Wada Blood

One Blood Family

One Blood Family

Junior Reid

Junior Reid

Junior Reid Reggae in the Hills

Junior Reid

Kava Jah Ikronik

Kava Jah of Ikronik

Prezident BrownPrezident Brown

The beautiful weather continued for day three with daytime temps in the 80s.    The mood on Sunday was that of relaxed energy as the festival was winding down.  Sunday afternoon performances by Hawaiian Reggae acts Mike Love and Natty Vibes had fans of all ages waving their  red, gold, and green Hawaiian Flags in the air.   Prezident Brown, a Jamaican artist who has a popular presence on the West Coat festival scene closed out the festival  and had the audience dancing  to his infectious beats and positive lyrics.   During one section of a song where Prezident Brown sings to  the audience  “Do You Love Me?”, he received a resounding response of “yes” from the audience leaving no doubt that we will see Prezident Brown again soon.

Mike Love Reggae in the Hills

Mike Love performs an acoustic set

Prezident Brown

Prezident Brown


Reggae in the Hills

Fans enjoying Natty Vibes

Reggae in the Hills

Fans enjoying the afternoon set

Reggae in the Hills

Reggae in the Hills provided something for everyone. Plenty of live music with a wide array of food and  merchandise vendors throughout the fairgrounds.  It also featured an indoor skateboard park with a skating contest,  art displays including several live art locations near the stage, daily yoga, a disc golf tournament, and late night after parties.  All of which was offered at a very reasonable price and contained within an intimate setting that allowed attendees to interact with the musicians in a peaceful environment.

From a media and photography perspective, it was a pleasure to be an official media sponsor. I have to give props to the organizers of the festival.  A designated media building was professionally organized with a schedule of  interview & press conference times with band members .  Appropriate photography and videography credentials were given to take performance shots.  This allowed the various media houses present  to provide fans with quality Reggae in the Hills coverage.

Overall, the Reggae in the Hills team thought of everything to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone and certainly the warm hospitality of the entire team and all festival attendees made this East Coast native feel right at home in Northern California.  I’m already looking forward to plan for next year’s Reggae in the Hills experience. Maybe one day soon I will also consider camping! 

Faces at Reggae in the Hills

Reggae in the Hills Logistics

Picture

How to get there Angels Camp, CA is just a few hours drive from the airports located in San Francisco,  Oakland, and Sacramento.   I chose to fly to San Fransisco and visit some friends before commencing the 3 hour drive through the scenic rolling hills along route 4 in Goldrush country.   Make sure you have a full gas tank as there are long stretches of road along the way between towns. 

Where to stay:  Reggae in the Hills is a full camping festival with RV and Tent facilities.  The weekend pass included camping at a very affordable price especially when booking at earlybird rates (85 in advance) and 120 at the gate.   If you are like me and are not so much into camping there are several small reasonably priced hotels in Angels Camp to choose from that are only a couple miles away.  It is best to reserve early to guarantee a place to stay.   

Recommended Hotel:  The Travel Lodge just a couple miles away in downtown Angels Camp met my needs perfectly with friendly staff,  and clean and spacious rooms complete with wi-fi access and a free hot breakfast. 

What to Bring / Wear:  Expect desert weather conditions. In mid-June the highs during the day can range from the mid 80s to low 100s and it can plummet to the 50s at night.  If you are camping be sure to come prepared with all your camping gear and warm clothing for the cool desert nights.   Bring lots of sunscreen, shades, a hat,  water,  smart phone (my AT&T service worked great), and cash for the food and merchandise vendors.  There are banks and businesses in town that take credit / debit cards.  

Area Activities:  Stay for a few more days and take full  advantage of the sights of the surrounding areas and enjoy nature in Gold Country at its best.  For more info, check the Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce. 


Press Play to view the full slide show of Reggae in the Hills Photos 

Empress K is the Founder, Primary Photo-Journalist and Editor of  www.reggaereflection.com.  Reggae Reflection has gained international recognition with quality coverage of premier reggae events in Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, and Nigeria as well as numerous completed photography assignments  for notable  reggae events in the New England area, NY, Alabama, and Florida region.   Festival coverage has included Groovin In the Park, Six Flags NJ Caribbean Concert Series, IRAWMA, HangOut Festival Alabama, 9Mile Festival Miami, Rebel Salute, Sunfest FLReggae in the Hills and more. 

Follow Empress K on Twitter, Instagram & Youtube  @1EmpressK & ReggaeReflection on Facebook

%d bloggers like this: