For the last nine years, Reggae on the Mountain (ROTM), founded and produced by Topanga locals Amit Gilad and Brooks Ellis, who collectively run Label27.com, has again collaborated with the Topanga Community Center and emerged as one of the musical highlights of summertime in Los Angeles, over the weekend of July 14-15.
On July 14, Toots and the Maytals will perform for the first time at the Ninth Annual Reggae on the Mountain at the Topanga Community Center. Toots is one of the true architects of reggae, so much so that his “Do the Reggay,” a 1968 single is credited with giving the genre its name. Only a handful of artists are recognized as true godfathers/mothers of the genre and Toots & The Maytals sit alongside the likes of Bob Marley and The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, and a small group of others who are credited with popularizing Reggae music in the ‘60s and ‘70s. These artists paved the way for the international success of the genre.
To add to the excitement, Toot’s son Clayton Hibbert (Junior Toots) will appear with his father for the first time in California festival history. He will also perform his own set backed by East LA reggae all-stars and ROTM luminaries, Quinto Sol.
Classic songs, written and recorded by Toots and the Maytals, have been covered by the likes of the Clash, the Specials and Sublime. The group was also featured in Reggae’s most prolific film, 1972’s The Harder They Come. Over the years, Toots has collaborated with other musical legends such as Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Bonnie Raitt, as well as younger stars like No Doubt and Phish’s Trey Anastasio. With roots in gospel and immeasurable power and soul, Toots truly may be Reggae’s greatest living vocalist.
Supporting Toots & The Maytals is another icon of Jamaican music from the ‘60s, Derrick Morgan. In 1960, Morgan became the only artist ever to fill the places from one to seven on the Jamaican pop chart simultaneously. With a career spanning more than 50 years, Morgan will be drawing from his deep catalog of hits, backed by top LA band, The Steady 45s.
Sunday, July 15, also promises a bombastic day of entertainment with the legendary Barrington Levy and international British star and Topanga favorite, Pato Banton topping the bill.
Levy is widely recognized as one of the forefathers of Jamaican Dancehall music, releasing more than 30 albums since 1979. In 2015, his album, “Acousticalevy,” was nominated for the Grammy for Best Reggae Album. Levy is known for his high-energy performances and his upcoming appearance at ROTM promises to electrify attendees with hits such as “Black Roses” and “Here I Come.”
Pato Banton headlined the inaugural ROTM in 2009 and triumphantly returns to the stage in 2018. Also, on Sunday’s bill is the classic Los Angeles based group, The Rastafarians, along with staples of the SoCal reggae scene, Arise Roots, and more.
ROTM has become a culturally unifying event, bringing people together from every corner of the city to enjoy music, art, and world cuisine in the beautiful hills of Topanga Canyon. Through the years ROTM has hosted heavy-hitting artists such as Steel Pulse and Julian Marley, but this year, Toots & The Maytals has further elevated the level as its most legendary headliner yet.
With two packed stages of music, authentic Caribbean cuisine, more than 30 craft vendors, ice-cold specialty drinks, and much more, Reggae on The Mountain 2018 invites you to be part of history and join in the festivities this July.
Free parking and shuttle service is offered along Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Children 12 and under are free!
See you on the Mountain, one love!
ROTM is an important fundraiser for the Topanga Community Center 501(c)3, which supports a wide variety of programs and services for Topanga and surrounding communities.
Tickets and more information: www.reggaeonthemountain.com.
By Amit Gilad