WESTBOUND AND DOWN – THE ROAD TO CALIROOTS WITH DILATED PEOPLES

Originally published in Through the Lens Magazine on June 3, 2015

Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey

MONTEREY, CA – Saturday of Memorial Day weekend was a beautiful day to wake up in mostly sunny California. That particular morning marked the 2nd day of a California adventure for many, and another day awaking to the symphony of racing engines barreling through the great Mazda Raceway. Although the familiar rumble had become a symbol of home that week, it didn’t eclipse the astounding beats still flowing through the heads of all the campers that attended the events the night before. Friday, May 22, was the day that began one of the most epic festivals in the country, California Roots.

Many of the camping Caliroots attendees, being weary from travel, began their first day of the weekend in style… sleeping in. The great thing about vacation is, of course, not being on a schedule . Unfortunately with all great things there comes sacrifice. Everyone suddenly found themselves on California Roots time, and for multitudes of fans the alarm clock was set for Dilated Peoples. Fortunately for some travelers from the east and midwest California is three hours behind, so Caliroots time gives an extra three hours to sleep every single day it seems. The wonderful people at California Roots partnered with the spectacular Leguna Seca campgrounds to give festival goers an easier experience and commute with shuttles running to the fairgrounds all day. Some got a late start, but arriving on the grounds with plenty of time to spare was easy with the help of the fantastic volunteers and staff.

It was a quick walk from shuttle stop, through security, and then inside the gates where many paused to start eyeballing good places to grab a beer and watch the show. It is a quick realization upon arriving at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, however, that the good views were everywhere. It was evident that the organizers for Caliroots worked tons of overtime to make sure every single person had the time of their lives. Vendors, arts, and fascinating people abound in every direction making it hard to decide what to do first. Plus, on top of all of the other wonderful spectacles, the grounds boasts not just one, but three stages with alternating music schedules to allow fans to soak in every show. Multitudes of people savored the sights in every direction, but it was easy to spot the fans of Dilated Peoples in the crowd. They scurried quickly to the Caliroots stage avoiding the beautiful distractions so as not to miss a single minute when the band emerged.

The Caliroots Stage, one of the three at the festival, was spectacular. The huge open area made for plenty of room to see the show comfortably from any vantage point. Giant screens mounted on both sides showed close-ups of the action on stage for fans that just wanted to hang back and chill while enjoying the show. Food and drink vendors lined the yard so thirsty and hungry devotees would not miss a beat. The mood in the air was perfect for a show. The sun was shining above, and suddenly the rain and cold that many had endured up until that moment on their camping journeys was all worth it. The excitement and anticipation for the start of the set was electric. Dilated Peoples hail from Los Angeles, so seeing them in California was like a little present for all. It is always an extra treat to see a band perform in their home state, plus hometown fans are always just a little more excited. That type of excitement from true fans is contagious, and quickly fans from all over were suddenly Californians.

Soon Dilated Peoples came up on stage like a force of nature. Their mad vibes striking the crowd like lightning starting a fire and heating their souls. The melodies they wove together created a magic rug that made their lyrics fly. DJ Babu whipped the fans into a frenzy as he tore up the turntables like a ninja on crack. Evidence called for the crowd to raise their hands together to show the love, and they eagerly obliged with their hands and hearts. Rakaa threw his heart in the mix too as he spewed good vibes out to the crowd wrapped in every rhyme that he spit from his lips. The Dilated Peoples was the first performance for some to see at Caliroots, and even if they saw no others they could have died happy right then and there.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and the performance wound down despite the objections from the crowd. It’s always a little sad when the music ends, but it was evident that everyone felt completely happy and whole after witnessing such a gigantic epic success. Dilated Peoples took their leave of the Caliroots Stage to make way for the plethora of other performers that would be there to follow them soon. The audience slowly broke apart, and meandered away from the stage back into the crowd onward toward their next adventures. It’s safe to say that the first day at California Roots was a raging success, and the wonderful Dilated Peoples are largely to thank. It was beautiful to see them tearing it up on that Caliroots stage. Hopefully one day soon they’ll tour again, and reward hip hop junkies everywhere by bringing their incendiary performance to everyone’s home state.

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Photo and video footage shot for Photographic Melodie by Melodie Yvonne Ramey. Shot with Nikon D800E
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