Photos and story
by Stephen Cooper
Last year I wrote Reggae on the Mountain is the “best reggae venue in Los Angeles.” But after celebrating its decennial year with a game-changing move from Topanga Canyon to more verdant, accessible, and capacious festival grounds in the Santa Monica Mountains – at the King Gillette Ranch – Reggae on the Mountain has positioned itself not only as a must-attend event for the reggae faithful in California and the rest of the U.S., but internationally too.
This year, in addition to beautiful new digs and inspirational irie vibes in the not-overly-hot sun, festival-goers were treated to standout performances by legendary bands Steel Pulse and Third World, as well as a magnetic, mesmerizing set by Matisyahu. Emerging stars Hirie, Anuhea, and Antoinette RootsDawtah Hall (who plays keyboard, sings with, and is married to the always affable crowd-pleaser Pato Banton) also thrilled the crowed with soulful performances, providing proof positive of the depth and diversity among the many talented female artists in reggae today.
But when it comes to recounting the happenings at a music festival, it’s better to show more and rehash less. Without further ado, please enjoy video and photographs I took memorializing the show with apologies to the many outstanding performers I missed.
About the Author: Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California. Follow him on Twitter at @SteveCooperEsq