Musicians to watch at this year’s Cali Roots Festival


Rebecca Olmos,
Staff Writer

California Roots, also known as Cali Roots, will hold its ninth annual Music and Arts festival on May 25-27 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. The Memorial Day weekend is three days filled with drinks, food, art and music with two stages where audiences will get watch live performances and DJ sets.

Dan Sheehan, the CEO, co-producer and talent hirer for Cali Roots, has organized the festival since its third year. He shared with The Pioneer three of the musical performances he is excited for the festival goers to see.

The first artist he mentioned was Australian singer and songwriter Tash Sultana.

“I think she is on fire right now,” Sheehan said. “I just watched her Coachella performance. She’s the real deal. She stands for what we stand for.”

Cali Roots is one stop on her world tour that starts May 18. The tour has already sold out shows in New Zealand, Germany, Canada and multiple venues in the United States. Sultana started out busking, or street performing and eventually recorded a video of a jam session that went viral online. She released her first album, “Notion” in 2016. Her music features mesmerizing complex guitar riffs accompanied by various other instruments and her own vocals. The multi-instrumentalist artist will perform on May 24 at the Cali Roots stage at 3 p.m.  

Dispatch, an American indie-rock band started in 1996. They were the first independent band to sell out Madison Square Garden and have had sold out venues all over the world according to a 2007 Glide Magazine article. They released their sixth full-length album, “American, Location 12” in 2017. Cali Roots is one of the performances on their summer North American tour. They dedicated part of their tour to work with fans to support reducing gun violence, creating an environmentally friendly tour, supporting mental health initiatives and other causes.  The group will perform on May 25, at The Bowl stage at 1:05 p.m.

“Chronixx is a phenomenal artist that I think is really bringing the voice of Jamaica to the forefront again,” Sheehan said.

The Jamaican reggae artist, Chronixx, has performed since he was five-years-old. He creates music that has been described as reggae revival that is meant to bring roots and culture of the genre to a new generation. He released his first full-length album “Chronology” in 2017, which received a Grammy nomination. Chronixx will perform in Monterey as part of his summer world tour and will be at The Bowl stage at 4:45 p.m. on May 26.

“I think for us to be successful, we got to keep a little bit out of the box,” Sheehan said.  “Keep things fresh. That’s one of the main reasons for having various stuff from different walks on our bill.”

Other artists that will perform at the festival include, Rebelution, 311, Hirie, Fortunate Youth, Iration, E-40, Steel Pulse, Atmosphere, J Boog, Slightly Stupid, The Green, Alpha Blondy, Brother Ali, Trevor Hall, Stephen Marley, The Holdup, Mike Love and more. Three-day and single-day passes are still available at