For the Marley family, the two-day Kaya Fest held at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29, is much more than just a music festival, it’s a movement.
The event, which is curated by Bob Marley’s son Stephen Marley, did well in Miami last year, so he decided to bring it to Southern California. With the recent legalization of marijuana within the state, he said he thought it was appropriate to bring Kaya “into the eye of the storm.” A big component of the fest is aimed at educating attendees about the health benefits of cannabis.
“Remember, my father said, ‘You wonder why they fight this plant, there has to be a reason’,” Stephen said during one-on-one interview at a Kaya press conference in Los Angeles last month.
“The reason is all of the benefits from this plant,” he continued. “Why would you deprive the people of the plant? The purpose of the fest is to educate yourself about the plant and find out how it can benefit you.
“The testimonies from thousands and thousands of people, those testimonies don’t lie. From having 1,000 seizures to two, if that’s not a miracle, then I don’t know what is. Those are real facts. It’s very important for people to educate themselves and to not make stereotypical decisions like because my father smoked it, I smoke it. Maybe I don’t smoke it. Maybe I drink the tea or use the CBD oil. It has so many benefits and people deserve to know what the benefits are.”
On top of the early daily fest yoga sessions, the Kaya Village with arts and craft vendors from around the world and the Kaya Family Garden and Growing Experience, the festival will also include performances by artists such as Ms. Lauryn Hill, Toots & The Maytals, Cypress Hill, Soja, De La Ghetto, Marcia Griffiths, Chronixx and numerous others.
It will also be the first time all five Marley brothers – Stephen, Ziggy, Damian, Julian and Ky-Mani – have all performed together on one stage on the West Coast in more than a decade.
With the festival just happening to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Bob Marley’s landmark album, “Kaya,” Stephen will pay tribute to his late father’s record, which included the hits “Is This Love” and “Sun Is Shining” among others, with a special solo acoustic set on Sunday.
Kaya will highlight the next generation of Marleys as well, as four of Bob’s grandchildren will perform. Skip, the son of Bob’s first-born daughter Cedella Marley; Jo Mersa Marley, the eldest son of Stephen; Bambaata Marley, the eldest son of Ziggy; and DJ Shacia Päyne, the daughter of Stephen, will be featured during earlier day time slots.
“It’s a comforting feeling to see them take up the banner and while we are here, we can steer them,” Stephen said. “We never put it to them, we purposely made sure them earn them keeps in this thing because it’s easy to say ‘Dad’s doing it, so I’m doing it’ and that just wouldn’t work. But we are very proud of them.”
Kaya Fest Music and Awareness Festival
With: Stephen Marley, Ziggy Marley, Damian Marley, Julian Marley, Ky-Mani Marley, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Yandel, Cypress Hill, Zion Y Lennox, Soja, De La Ghetto, Action Bronson, Chronixx, Common Kings, Toots & The Maytals, Third World, Anuhea, Skip Marley, Jo Mersa Marley, Bambaata Marley, yaadcore, Shacia Payne, Roots of Creation, Indubious, Kabaka Pyramid and more.
When: Noon Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29
Where: NOS Events Center, 689 E. Street, San Bernardino
Tickets: $65-$85 single-day general admission; $125-$145 two-day general admission; $199 single-day VIP admission; $299 two-day VIP admission