News flash: The year to come is full of uncertainty. But at least one thing is guaranteed. Monterey County’s – and Northern California’s – music will, in a word, rock.
The biggest local show, in its eighth year, brings Cali Roots dipping back into its hip-hop stash with some additions to the reggae-rock norm. A couple years back, The Roots, Dilated Peoples and Cypress Hill generated crossover appeal. After following a fairly straightforward reggae-rock formula in 2016, Cali Roots is mixing it up again, delivering Nas, the prophet behind one of hip-hop’s most influential records, Illmatic.
Additionally, Los Angeles outfit Jurassic 5, led by master beat man Cut Chemist and emcee Chali 2NA, brings a positive blend of progressive hip-hop to the main stage. Also on the roster is Easy Star All Stars whose dubbed-out reggae arrangements of classic records, including Pink Floyd’s The Darkside of the Moon, are beloved cult favorites.
“The Cali Roots team is thrilled we have built an amazing event in Monterey County and it’s awesome to see the results,” said co-producer Dan Sheehan in 2014. Here’s the brief on that and other select 2017 festivals, in no particular order:
May 26-28 • Monterey County Fair & Event Center in Monterey • $190/three-day early advance general admission• www.californiarootsfestival.com.
Lineup highlights: Nas, Jurassic 5, Easy Star All Stars, SOJA, Dirty Heads, Iration, Stick Figure, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Common Kings and an additional headliner announced Jan. 10.
Original feature: Cali Roots is partners with Trip Zero, which works to “address and negate the carbon footprint created by travel to the festival.” Also, vendors use only compostable foodware and volunteers help separate waste.
May 19-21 at Fernwood Resort in Big Sur • Tickets on sale Jan. 25 • www.folkyeah.com.
Lineup highlights: Aside from multiple sets from the gathering’s parents, Mother Hips, no lineup information has been released yet.
Original feature: Prior to Hipnic VIII, event co-founder/Mother Hips frontman Tim Bluhm listed the traditions that have been born throughout Hipnic’s eight-year tenure: chili cook-offs, crawfish boils, carnitas sharing and proliferation of whole-smoked chickens.
“People cook a whole bunch of food at their [Fernwood] campsites and give it out to anyone who shows up,” Bluhm said. “If you just walk around the campsite at night, there’s always tons of food getting served up and tequila getting drunk – it’s a really cool scene. We had a vision that [Hipnic] would be this tradition, our own festival. And we’d do it every year as long as we could.”
There are also all the unscheduled jam sessions – some impromptu, some semi-planned – with past highlights including performances featuring the Mother Hips, Jackie Greene and Beach Boy Al Jardine playing Beach Boys classics.
Bottlerock Napa Valley
May 26-28 • Napa Valley Expo in Napa • Tickets on sale Jan. 4, 2017 • www.bottlerocknapavalley.com.
Lineup highlights: The lineup will be announced on Jan. 3, 2017 (the past four years have boasted everyone from The Black Keys and Robert Plant to Stevie Wonder and Red Hot Chili Peppers).
Original feature: A special stage that boasts memorable mash-up moments which have brought together raucous rosters to participate in culinary contests. Picture Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, Green Day’s Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt, Cheech & Chong, multi-Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Food Network’s Chef Tyler Florence and James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina competing to churn out the best chile verde.
Feb. 17-27 at venues throughout San Francisco • $145-$375/badges • www.noisepop.com.
Lineup highlights: Ty Segall, Grandaddy, Dawes, Cloud Nothings, Moon Duo, The Mother Hips, White Fence, Los Campesinos!, Deafheaven and more to be added.
Original feature: 11 days, over 160 bands and 85 events throughout more than 25 SF venues, Noise Pop champions independent culture through art shows, film scores, talks, happy hours, after hours surprises and more.
Lightning in a Bottle
May 24-29 at the San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley • $270-$725 • www.lightninginabottle.org.
Lineup highlights: Lineup TBA sometime before tickets go on sale Jan. 3.
Original feature: Some 20,000 electronic music lovers occupy a pop-up city full of yoga, visionary talks and partying. “Some things have to be experienced to be understood,”Weekly Managing Editor Mark C. Anderson wrote after a visit.
April 28-30 in Indio • $299-$1,199 • www.stagecoachfestival.com.
Lineup highlights: Jerry Lee Lewis, John Doe, Kiefer Sutherland, Los Lobos, Nikki Lane, Shania Twain, Son Volt, The Sadies, The Zombies, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney
Original feature: It’s the Americana/country version of big brother Coachella, and they love to give back to the city of Indio’s nonprofits.