Slightly Stoopid rocks Ventura 10/9/20

Slightly Stoopid took to the stage shortly after 8pm on Friday, Oct 9, 2020 in Ventura, California to play their first show since February earlier this year. 

They filled the drive in experience with hundreds of small groups gathered in socially distanced parking spaces, requiring everyone to wear masks and follow the posted guidelines.

For the price of the ticket, a car could hold as many people as seat belts it contained, with your own food and drink, it was a brand new experience.

Knocking off the cobwebs and dust from their set list, the show included a few special guests and a cover of Franklin’s Tower by the Grateful Dead.

As the lead singer, Miles Doughty cussed like an illiterate sailor, it was hard to tell who was more excited to be there, the band or the crowd?

Only someone who has seen the group multiple times would know they seemed nervous about the first couple of songs. 

About ten minutes into the set, the group formed that cohesive bond that separates studio musicians from touring acts. 

Hearing live music for a large audience after eight months of lockdown, it moved the crowd to happiness. Like headlights shining through the fog on a dark highway, Slightly Stoopid’s set was crisp, clear and full of energy.

There seemed to be a spectator atmosphere, with people relaxing in lawn chairs and comfortably from their cars, rather than dancing like people used to.

Outside locals gathered to see the large television screens.

Following some advice I received once for airplane trips, I abstained from drinking liquids during the performance and could avoid the always dodgy and now dangerous situation of portable restroom facilities.

This has been a rough year for musicians and venues. If you’re an independent contractor, stage techs or sound engineer, there’s little to no work happening since the spring of this year.

And that goes for the rest of the industry, from rigging crews, to security, practically everyone involved with the concert business. There in trouble.

Who knows what the future holds? The concert was grand, even with the looming threat of the pandemic dangers involved with large gatherings, there’s no substitute for a real concert experience.

One Love Cali Reggae Fest

The 2020 festival kicked off on Friday, February seventh and as expected was chocked full of world class talent, from the elderly legends of Jamaica’s past, Grammy award winning artists and cutting edge players with the distinct sounds from the islands of Hawaii.

This festival is grand for many reasons. In close proximity to much of Southern California during the winter months while much of the country is freezing, folks are here outside enjoying some sweet sounds.

Under the super moon.

There are ambient hotels and places to stay within a short distance, one right at the venue. Parking in Long Beach, as you ride a shuttle to the fest, is reasonable and under twenty dollars a day.

The craft brews and drink options are vast, in addition to world class catering from various booths and food trucks, offering everything you could imagine from hard kombucha, vegetarian and vegan, Asian, fried chicken, Mexican and BBQ.

Now to mention the music, everyday of the fest is jam packed full of performing artists for almost ten hours daily. With three stages there is always a show to catch and creates unique situations where the concert goer must choose “Do I leave Damian Marley, to go see Yellowman?”

Black Uhuru

Some rain fell on Sunday, same as in 2019, yet it didn’t stop the dedicated fans in ponchos who enjoyed themselves in the cold.

In addition to the many performers, highlights this year for me included an epic set by Tribal Seeds, a break through in the rain during Fia on the Tiki stage, and Lee “Scratch” Perry throwing down and a crowd singing him “happy birthday” a month before his eighty-fifth.

The historic Queen Mary.

If you missed the fest, hopefully this incredibly amazing event will return next year for 2021.