By Rene De La Cruz
VICTORVILLE — Cool vibes and the stylistic sounds of reggae music will fill the High Desert when the inaugural Reggae on Route 66 Music Festival comes to town.
The non-cannabis music festival will feature 30 of the world’s top reggae artists, a classic car show and other activities at the two-day event that begins Sept. 14 at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville.
“We have a great lineup of musical performers, including internationally known The Green from Hawaii,” Festival promoter Garrison Carrafield, 32, told the Daily Press. “The Green took home this year’s iHeartRadio’s Island Music Awards best album of the year.”
The all-ages festival will also feature craft beer vendors, a wide variety of food options, original art displays, glass blowers and a large camping area, according to Carrafield.
“We’re expecting about 3,000 people a day at our festival that will focus strictly on reggae music, the car show and having a good time,” Carrafield said. “Victorville deserves a good festival that’s not about cannabis. We also have a lot of people that love reggae music in the High Desert and across the country.”
Formed in 2009, The Green is a reggae band that blends the sounds of dub-heavy roots reggae, smooth lovers’ rock, contemporary pop and rock with indigenous Hawaiian musical/lyrical references.
Also performing is the American/Bermudian reggae artist Collie Buddz, whose greatest radio success was the hit single “Mamasita,” which sold nearly 2 million copies.
The Grammy nominated band “Raging Fyah” will also headline at the musical festival.
Carrafield wants to spotlight the fairgrounds carnival midway that will be transformed into a gated area for tent camping and full RV hookups. The area will also include restrooms, showers, a general store, live music, yoga classes, field games and other activities, he said.
This will be the first time the Fairgrounds will open its 83 acres to the public for onsite camping during a music festival, according to Carrafield, who described the campsite as a place where people can relax and spend late nights with friends.
“We’re seeing a great response from the community, with tickets being sold, vendors wanting to partner with us and people asking questions on social media,” Carrafield said. “I know there’s a lot of hotel and business owners that are upset the Chalice Festival was canceled, but hopefully our festival can bring back some of that $30 million in revenue that Chalice was supposed to bring to Victorville.”
Chalice Festival organizers decided to postpone the three-day cannabis-themed art and music show after the Victorville City Council declined to submit a letter of support to the state Bureau of Cannabis Control. The permit would have allowed the sale and consumption of cannabis at the Chalice Festival.
Chalice events have provided an influx of revenue to the region, with some of those dollars coming from local hotels, the Daily Press reported.
“I think the cancellation of Chalice hurt the reputation of Victorville and the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, so we’re hoping to restore a bit of that damage,” Carrafield said. “When businesses like Cracker Barrel, BJ’s Restaurant and Texas Roadhouse show interest in coming to the High Desert, you don’t want to taint Victorville’s image by turning away festivals that bring in big revenue.”
General admission tickets and VIP passed are on sale now, with discounts available for early purchase. Camping packages and car show entries are also available for registration at www.reggaeonroute66.com.