Reggae is King

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Reggae on the Mountain may have outgrown its original Topanga venue but it hasn’t outgrown its generous, all-inclusive Topanga spirit. The festival celebrated its tenth anniversary with a record crowd of around 3000 at its new venue at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas.

Brooks Ellis, the festivals co-founder and co-producer described the two day event with one word, “Awesome.”

This year’s event featured two full days of music from international stars and heavy-hitting local and regional bands. There were concerts and dance parties all day both days and into the night. Festival goers even had an opportunity to camp under the stars in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains.

“We had 300 campers,” Ellis said. “The festival was great. Everything went well all weekend, no problems, no major issues, everyone had a great time. We couldn’t be happier with the new location and we hope to be back at King Gillette Ranch next year.”

Although the festival wasn’t in Topanga this year, Topanga was at the festival. “My whole family helped out,” Ellis said. “All of our friends were here, the Topanga spirit was here.”

Ellis received a special certificate of appreciation at the close of the festival, presented by Calabasas Mayor David Shapiro and California State Senator Henry Stern. “The special memories and arts culture you are creating for this community are invaluable,” the proclamation read. The state of California commends you for being an inspiration to the people of the 27th Senate District.”

Ellis isn’t resting on his laurels. He told the Messenger Mountain News that he and his partner Amit Gilad are already looking toward next year’s event. And the last 10 years? “It’s been an awesome experience,” Ellis said.


Suzanne Guldimann

Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at

  1. Who took these terrific pictures of Reggae On The Mountain for you?
    I don’t see a credit…?

    It was a fantastic event, so proud of our boys who created and continue to produce this special gathering for our community. The music was WORLD CLASS! Steel Pulse, Matisyahu, Hirie….
    Incredible talent! And camping out under the stars in our own backyard was a BLAST! The crew was hard working and good spirited and we had an AMAZING group of volunteers going above and beyond on the team! Looking forward to next year, Topanga – mark your calendars NOW!

    1. Credit for these shots goes to Connie Cambardella of ConCam Photography. We have many more we’ll be posting soon.

  2. I see a few of my photographs as well. Please credit if possible. Thank you for leaving my watermark on the photos! INGRATITUDE. Sandra Goodin

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