Reggae bands fired up about festival on the MontBleu grass |

Reggae bands fired up about festival on the MontBleu grass

Tim Parsons, Lake Tahoe Action
New Zealand's Katchafire arrives in the United States this week and is one of eight bands that will perform June 30 at the Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival at the MontBleu Outdoor Events Center.

STATELINE, Nev. – The grass is in, the stage is on its way and organizers have decided on a name: the MontBleu Outdoor Events Center.

The first concert in what is planned to be a yearly summertime venue will be Saturday, June 30’s Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival featuring eight bands. The venue will hold 4,200 and is in the former tennis court area between the hotel and much-talked-about loop road.

“We have four shows booked and I anticipate between six to 10 this summer,” said the director of entertainment, Dave Davis. “The stage arrives around June 28, and it will unfold just like a flower.”

The San Diego trio by way of Hawaii Pepper, the headliner of the Reggae Festival, made it big after a few years working small venues such at Tahoe Taps in Truckee and Hoss Hoggs in South Lake Tahoe.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing positivity to Tahoe and seeing our old stomping grounds,” Pepper’s Kaleo Wassman told Lake Tahoe Action. “For me and the boys, it’s going to be great.”

Also on the bill are New Zealand’s Katchafire, Hawaii’s J Boog and Hot Rain, Reno’s Mark Sexton Band, UpRising and Keyser Soze and Sacramento’s Squarefield Massive.

“I definitely am looking forward to seeing Katchafire,” Sexton said. “I checked them out online and have become a big fan of theirs. I really like their style. It’s very true and honest sounding reggae. I checked out J Boog, too. I really like that voice. I wasn’t expecting that voice to come out of that guy.”

All styles of reggae will be featured at the show.

J Boog plays dance hall music, which is a mix of straight-ahead reggae and hip-hop. Pepper is in the California reggae vein, which Sublime made popular crossing reggae and punk. Sexton plays R&B but touches on the doo-wop sound of early reggae. Katchafire is pure reggae.

“I’m really excited to see Katchafire because we played a show with some really good friends, Kora, who are also from New Zealand,” Wassman said. “Katchafire in Hawaii is massive. They are a huge band and I have not had the pleasure of seeing them yet, so I am really looking forward to that.”

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