Smoke on the Water



This time every year, the banks of the Eel River buzz to life with good vibes and skanking sounds as thousands of reggae-loving folk make their annual pilgrimage to French's Camp in Piercy to get together and feel all right.

  • Alexander Woodard

Reggae on the River, running Thursday, July 30 through Sunday, Aug. 2, is the longest- running reggae/world music festival in the U.S. and the area's biggest event. This year, headliners Stephen "Ragga" Marley, Cham, Alborosie & the Shengen Clan, Collie Buddz, Tarrus Riley & Blak Soil, Ghetto Youths International and Protoje & the Indiggnation will have the masses groovin'. Of course, those acts are but a fraction of the four-day entertainment lineup. In addition to dozens more singers and bands, ROTR also features DJs and sound systems, KidLandia for the little raggamuffins and more than 60 vendors and nonprofits. While you're camping, dancing and recreating on the river, organizers encourage you to bring your own water in gallon containers (drought!), dress for the weather (HOT during the day, cool at night) and wear sunscreen. Take advantage of the inner festival shuttle, as well as pedicabs, which will roll you anywhere on site for a tip.

Want to raise your irie? Bring a tool to donate to the Tools For Change program, helping communities in rural West Africa. And keep in mind that Reggae is a nonprofit event with ticket money supporting programs and services of the Mateel Community Center.

So, go ahead and treat yourself. Jah knows you deserve it. Tickets range from $200 to $500 for the Ambassador Pass and $90 at the gate for single-day tickets (no camping) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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