Greetings all! You may remember my recent featured article on Lauren Ignited as part of the series “Not to be Missed Festivals on the West Coast.” The first part was a preview of the famous, four-day extravaganza held in Humboldt County, “Reggae on The River.” Well, Ignited Family, it’s time for another series (as I could not possibly fit all of our experience into one article!)

I attended the festival with our summer intern from France, Ella N., toting full press and backstage access. Join us as we report on the music, the vibe, and the mission. Lauren Ignited is excited and proud to share with you the many interviews, and press conferences we were honored and privileged to be a part of.

The first day started with our journey to the festival. We left Friday morning and traveled in style driving a Ford Mustang Coupe through the beautiful Redwoods of Toiyabe National Forest. We arrived late afternoon and settled into our Airbnb, The Madrona Motor Court, an old refurbished motel, located just a mile down the beautiful “Avenue of the Giants.” Our quaint, cabin-style room, littered with tasteful vintage furnishings, and complimented by a beautiful Eel River view from the balcony, was more than sufficient for our weekend. After dropping our bags we headed to the festival bowl, literally constructed on the banks of the river, to check in.

To our joy we arrived at the bowl just in time to catch the performance of Janine Cunningham, known to her fans and the Reggae World as Jah9, together with her band The Dub Treatment, she ripped up the stage, smashed into the minds of her audience, and performed with the ferocity and grace of a lioness protecting her cubs! Her activism and her belief in which she writes about, along with her strength and support of both men and women had the entire audience on their feet and mesmerized by her stage presence and the message she conveys! We caught up with her in the press room after the show. 

Friday night began with the larger than life sounds of Soul Syndicate, joined by Marty dread, U-Roy, Big Youth, Mad Professor, and Roots Master Earl Zero! Mind blowing! Hard for one to imagine what a lineup of this caliber would produce before actually witnessing these legendary performers on-stage together, but I can tell you my imagination did not come close to the sheer brilliance and power that they manifested in reality! 

Next up on the roster and also joining Soul Syndicate was Randy Valentine. A true Reggae DJ King, hailing from my homeland, The United Kingdom, and busting the seams of the Reggae scene since 2005. This year the music industry will see the release of another offering, a 19 track mixtape entitled “Radio Music.” His performance was raw and precise and no doubt gained him a superfluity of new fans at ROR this year. Enjoy “Radio Music:”

Following Mr. Valentine and the smash collective above to close out Fridays star-studded, jam-packed line-up was Kranium. Given the name in the studio because of his ability to freestyle with no pen and paper, he enters stage left with a fire inside for his premiere at Reggae on the River. He came to the stage on the heels of a smashing night of hard acts to follow. But follow he did! Holding his own and raising up the crowd with his debut performance.

Right then! Yawn…. Off to bed for the Ignited Team! We must get geared up and have enough rest for Saturday’s performances and coverage. So much to see, do and report back to you about!

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