Each Memorial Day weekend, it’s no secret a music lover has an abundance of entertainment options in Southern Cali those few couple of days. It’s the official kickoff of summer, the first time you show off your cute pedicure, new sunglasses, break out your cute summer dresses etc. For the past two years, I have done so at UCLA’s JazzReggae Fest, obtaining press access to cover both days of music. They’ve had some big heavy-hitters come through in years past like the Roots, Jill Scott and more so I knew the lineups would be dope. This year’s had some newcomers and some fan favs so it would be fun no dobut.
Jam Day featured a group of a mix of new and established performers in R&B, hip-hop and pop. After two UCLA band acts, new artist Ryan McDermott started the day off, doing songs like his current single, “Joy” featuring G.O.O.D. labelmate Hit Boy and I see big things for this guy. Cali favs Grouch and Eligh followed, getting the crowd hype and saying “G&E!” Jhene Aiko and Common went afterwards, mellowing out and pumping up the audience respectively. Common did a really long set featuring classic tracks and a trademark freestyle which I loved. Santigold ended the night with a cool set of her megahits. Energy-wise, Common really should have closed the show but Santigold was fun too. which
Reggae Day, which was announced as the largest reggae festival on the West Coast, provided a chill and alternating hype party atmosphere with performers turning it up and relaxing the crowd in spurts. Kes the Band and Mr. Vegas, my lineup favs got the crowd up on its feet, dancing, winding and flag-waving. Marcia Griffiths also made the crowd of thousands do her “Electric Boogie” which also turned into a fun moment. In the press pit, I talked to 4 (Ryan McDermott, Grouch and Eligh, Kes and Mr. Vegas) of the 12 artists who performed, and Kes bigged me up twice on his FB page twice! I left with hot new music ringing in my ear and tanlines!