ROGER STEFFENS live and direct from Reggae On The River 2014!

Roger, just back from Reggae On The River 2014, sent me this message about his time at the festival and I thought people might find it interesting.

“Mutabaruka and I go back 33 years, to his first U.S. tour following a spectacular debut at the Sunsplash 81, the Tribute to Bob Marley one. He was an early guest on the Reggae Beat and we’ve had nice heretical camaraderie there and on his own show on Irie-FM in Jamaica. At Reggae on the River this past weekend I was asked to emcee for Sly & Robbie, Jimmy Cliff and Muta. During my mid-afternoon welcoming rap I talked about how the fierceness of Muta’s sepulchrally deep voice is belied by his equally strong sense of humor. For example, I said, back on Easter Sunday 1983, Muta walked, completely unexpected, into our KCRW studios while Hank Holmes and I were on the air, sat down at the mic and announced, ‘There is a saying in Jamaica: Whenever Bob Marley go to the toilet, Roger Steffens have the flush.’ Backstage, Muta laughed heartily according to witnesses. At the end of his set I brought him back on for an encore in which he decided spontaneously to read a poem he had written about Lucky Dube.

I had also been brought to this year’s festival to do interviews, 42 so far, for a film about Reggae on the River’s 30th anniversary. The artist over the past three decades most often mentioned as having given the fest’s greatest performance over all those years was unquestionably Lucky Dube.

So as Muta is about to end his tribute poem, an organizer of the festival comes running over to tell me that Lucky Dube’s nephew is backstage and he says that ‘today is Lucky Dube’s birthday.’  When Muta concludes I walk quickly over to him and whisper in his ear, ‘Today is Lucky’s birthday.’  A stunned look passes across his features and tears begin to cloud his eyes. I walk off stage quickly, only to turn back to see Muta pointing at me and growling, ‘That man just told me to get off the stage!’  I waved my arms frantically in denial, and Muta broke out laughing. He told the audience about the confluence of dates and they broke into a loud and sustained cheer. Afterwards he told me it was one of the most emotional experiences of his life. By the way, he’s got a new, second show on the radio in Jamaica, called Stepping Razor: The Art of War, adding even more controversy to his repertoire.”




My tattered copy of "Mutabaruka:  The First Poems" given to me by Doctor Dread

My tattered copy of “Mutabaruka: The First Poems” given to me by Doctor Dread

Reggae On The River 30th Anniversary live video streaming NOW!

alternate feed:

The world’s most iconic reggae festival. Presented by the Mateel Community Center straight from the borderline of Humboldt/Mendocino Counties, California at French’s Camp, Piercy, deep in the Redwoods on the Eel River. REGGAE ON THE RIVER, THE 30th ANNIVERSARY

Saturday August 2nd remaining line-up, set times (Pacific Coast Zone)
4:40 ~ Etana
6:15 ~ SEE-I (also Thievery Corp’s band)
7:55 ~ Third World
9:55 ~ Iration
11:30 ~ Jimmy Cliff

Sunday, August 3rd line-up, set times (Pacific Coast Zone):
10:30 ~ Opening Blessing
10:45 ~ Ras Marcus Benjamin (Nyabinghi Dub Poet)
11:00 ~ Zili Misik
12:25 ~ Meta & The Cornerstones
2:05 ~ Mutabaruka & Skool Band
3:40 ~ Jah9
5:00 ~ Gyptian
6:35 ~ Israel Vibration
8:30 ~ Alpha Blondy & The Solar System

posted by Midnight Dread, 20 year veteran Reggae On The River DJ, Reggae MD, full-time full-up upfull reggae radio free 24 hours every day since March 3rd, 2014. Also dreadcasting over the air since 1979 & online since 1996 21st Century Midnight Dread programs airing daily on World One Radio at 12am including replays often heard in his Best of All Worlds high noon slot and where one can also become conscious at 6am with the indigenous sounds of Native Son Rising, all curated by Doug everyday, all times Pacific. Many more Midnight Dread sights & sounds here and on this blog’s Midnight Dread page. Go deh. All of dem.


META MIX Midnight Dread Reggae On The River Aug 4 ’02 Headlining DJ Set closing night


“Doug Wendt was & remains one of America’s greatest all time dj/vj’s, ahead of his time as ever, revealing that America’s no future except for a swiftly gaining past.”-Roger Steffens

I’ve DJed at Reggae On The River for twenty years straight. This is one of my favorite sets of all of them, coming between Lucky Dube & Burning Spear who closed the show in reverent fashion. It was a massively attended sacred groundation, Sunday August 4th, 2002, in the shadow of 9/11, war drums sounding, false witness rising. But out amongst the redwoods, in Piercy, California at French’s Camp there had been several wonderful nights & big days of music all on that “Unity” founded one stage. By the last evening everything was soaring. Here’s what it looked like as I gazed out at the lit up crowd of revelers, thanks to my dear friend Lee’s amazing photographs © Lee Abel



Lucky left everyone ecstatic. I saw Montel Williams walking around with his entourage in a cloud of smoke. They were based slightly up the hill front left of the large DJ booth up stage that overlooked the massive crowd. I had rehearsed this mix & was way past dready. The staff & MC were so exhausted & hoarse by that point I began almost immediately layering several sounds, clearing the palette with secret sauce… Beats & Bob Marley Be Loved grabbed & wrung out/in, folks started reacting right away, screams, even collective gasps as the mix went meta. Montel’s posse seemed to levitate as they shouted out in glee & then… well, listen. Critical Mass Lift Off! Here’s the first 11 minutes of a 45 minute meta slam jam while I & I set the stage for Burning Spear & his deep ‘Reggae Music Church’ style meditation & performance.



Reggae On The River gets back to the garden this year, once again being held at French’s Camp in Piercy after several years of community splitting controversy & struggle. That story’s for another time & place. For now the ‘Unity’ backdrop awaits. It should be quite a show & reunion.



MD Reggae On The River 2002 photo © Kim Sallaway

Midnight Dread erupted from its mid-1970s Reggae Explosion KTIM radio show, debuting in September 1979 on the same commercial North Bay Area spot on the dial before moving to KQAK & KFOG, major San Francisco rock stations. Midnight Raver’s Midnight Dread page: Broadcast regularly from San Francisco’s KUSF & KFOG into the 1990s, Midnight Dread now airs new shows: Every Day Pacific Time 12am