There was a time Angels Camp was a venue for a major summer concert series produced by the legendary Bill Graham, known as Mountain Aire. It brought popular rock and roll acts of the 70s and 80s to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds and transformed the grassy hillsides into a multi-day rock festival of big hair and raucous crowds. The Mountain Aire days are gone, but two young musical entrepreneurs have tapped into another popular genre and revived a summer institution in Calaveras with Reggae in the Hills.
Now in its third year, the three day festival brings an eclectic mixture of artists from all over the Caribbean and North America, including some up and coming acts from our region in Northern California. But you don’t have to be a reggae connoisseur to enjoy the show – according to the event’s producers, their number one commitment is hospitality. “We treat everyone like our brothers and sisters. We don’t promote limitations and strict rules,” say Scott Durst and Jay Smith, the concert producers. Their focus is be a family oriented, “open field of culture and acceptance.” To that end, they like to promote the fact that the Calaveras County Fairgrounds is one of the largest camping-ready concert venues in the state, with nearly 80 acres of open space, RV hook-ups, green grass and shady trees. With large indoor facilities and multiple outdoor stages, guests can expect a variety of fun side-show attractions like an indoor skate park, art workshops, exhibitions and plenty of amazing food with an eclectic West Indian flair.
Durst and Smith have seen Reggae in the Hills grow steadily since their initial show in 2012, beginning with a crowd of about 2700 and last year bringing in around 3600. This year’s event is expected to attract 5000-6000 attendees, and according to Durst, “The fest is just as much about the beautiful Calaveras County as it is the music. We would like to see a long term growth in tourism,” and these types of events are important for introducing people to this area.
Scott and Jay bring a two-decade long partnership with extensive experience in concert promotion and production to RITH. With as much emphasis given to the quality of the show as to the branding and public relations, they are looking forward to creating a lasting summer concert series here in the foothills. They really want to promote the Reggae festival scene outside the established reggae community and bring in new fans, but the most important thing is that they “want people to have the time of their lives and we want to help them with those memories.” That’s definitely sounds like a good thing for this community that we can all get behind.
You can read all about the festival, its promoters and the weekend line-up of artists at Sacramento Examiner.
All images courtesy of Reggae in the Hills
Reggae in the Hills
June 13-15, 2014
Calaveras County Fairgrounds
Ticket Prices include camping and parking – Kids 11 and under are free with paid adult
Weekend Pass: $110
Sat/Sun Pass: $70
Other Concerts in June: