About 10 minutes before Pepper started their set on Saturday night at the 2016 California Roots Festival at the Monterey Fairgrounds, I entered the photo pit at the front of the stage.

As I unzipped the pocket of my waist camera bag and pulled out a little, plastic baggy, I look up to a large, bearded guy with dreadlocks in the front row looking at me very excitedly.

"Woah! What do you go there, man?!" He said happily as I opened the bag.

"Uhh, this not what you think," I responded. "They're earplugs."

"Earplugs? He asked, slightly confused and disappointed. "What do you need those for?"

"Because I don't want to hurt my hearing. I'm old like that."


As is typical, it was one of many of the weird experiences and fun times one can expect at the festival every year. It's full of fun people, great music and one wild experience.

Along with Pepper, fans flocked to see Stephen and Damien Marley, Mike Love and Atmosphere for the annual three-day festival.


Staff photojournalist at Monterey County Weekly.

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