You can always expect certain to happen in Los Angeles around Memorial Day weekend. Crowded beaches and outdoor barbeques, deliciously warm tanning weather, hideous traffic on the 405 and one of LA’s best musical events, the annual JazzReggae Festival at UCLA. For almost 30 years, a group of carefully selected UCLA students schedule and coordinate one of Los Angeles’ largest concerts, which has grown in attendance and acclaim with every passing year. By consistently drawing in diverse and notable acts and expanding the one-day concert into a two-day outing, this long-running event has modestly become the nation’s largest (and best) student-run music festivals in the nation.
Every year that I’ve attended the fest has been exceptional, and there was no reason for 2014 to be any different. JRF is not just great for its stellar lineup of musicians and ideal locale, but the festival as a whole has become well-known for hosting a diverse selection of fine food vendors, clothing booths/African marketplace and arts and crafts stalls. This year, the Bruins expanded their efforts and included tents focused on renewable energy options, a specialized tent that distributed free, filtered water for concert-goers and a specialized area set by EnergyPlayground for kids and adults. If you had an iPhone, you could also download the free JazzReggae app for a fully interactive experience. (!ake one for Android/HTC folks next year!)
Eager to get to the show, I picked up the press pass and made my way to Intramural Field. The layout of this large field for #JRF2014 was the same as previous trips, with the stage located on one end and the aforementioned merchant/food/sponsor booths scattered along the edges of the field. I was eager to experience everything the vendors had to offer, however what we all came for that day was the spectacular music lineup. In order, it featured UCLA’s student band The Wes Coast, Sarah Reich’s Tap Music Project (feat Lee How and Nico Rubio), Georgia Anne Muldrow, The Internet, Aloe Blacc and Snoop Dogg as the headlining act.