Kaya Fest to Celebrate Bob Marley Album, Family, and … The Kaya


All five of Bob Marley’s sons will perform together at the second annual Kaya Fest April 28-29 in San Bernardino, it was announced Monday at a press conference at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood.

It is expected to be the first time in more than a decade that Ziggy, Stephen, Julian, Damian and Ky-Mani will perform in California.  This year’s festival celebrates the 40th anniversary of Bob Marley’s 1978 album Kaya.

The Lineup for Kaya Fest in San Bernardino

The lineup at the Nos Events Center is impressive, with heavy hitters the Marley brothers, Toots and the Maytalls and Inner Circle, and Tom Morello guesting on Saturday. On Sunday, headliners are Ms. Lauryn Hill, Cypress Hill, Soja, and Stephen Marley in an acoustic set.  Bob Marley’s grandchildren, Jo Mersa Marley, Skip Marley, Shacia Marley and Daniel Bambaata Marley will also round out the family performances.

Three of the brothers: Damian Marley, Stephen Marley and Julian Marley hosted the Monday press conference.  They talked up the Kaya Fest and played music for reporters during the mid-day event.

Kaya Fest's Julian Marley, Stephen Marley, and Damian Marley with their dog - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Julian Marley, Stephen Marley, and Damian Marley with their dog at Sunset Marquis – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

The Meaning of Kaya

Kaya means cannabis, it’s another word for herb. The fest will celebrate herb and educate the public on the benefits — without solicitation — Stephen Marley said.

“I was born on 4-20,” Stephen Marley said. “But more important than just my birthday, is the movement, the Kaya movement.”

In its second year, the fest moves to San Bernardino from Miami. Stephen Marley said California has been the target destination for the festival all along.

“We always aspired to bring it here from inception,” Stephen Marley said. “The people love reggae music in the West.”

As for the impressive lineup, Stephen Marley said: “Most of the people in the lineup are friends and people we make music with, most of them are people we know. It’s not hard to bring good people together for a good cause. Everybody wants to come.”


Kaya Fest With ‘A Certain Spirit’

It’s a family-friendly festival and kids under 8 are admitted for free.

“It’s a festival with a certain spririt about it,” Stephen Marley said. “It’s for everyone. The purpose of the gathering, as well as music which brings people together of course, but we have a greater cause, which is this plant, Cannabis, and the various different benefits of this plant, which some people know, some people don’t know. We’ve always been advocates of herb and use of this plant for the benefit of mankind. Kaya Fest is the platform we use to bring people together and teach them, tell them the truth. Some miracles come from sky and some miracles come from the Earth.”

NOTES: Recent news for the Marley brothers: Damian Marley won the 2018 GRAMMY for Best Regggae Album and Julian has a new album coming out in July.  Brother Stephen is the leader of the pack and suggested brother Julian hold off on the details about the record, at least for now.

After the press conference, which turned into a songfest for the Marley brothers and the reporters, Steven Van Zant, known as “Little Steven” appeared out of nowhere and popped his head into the room.  Sporting the latest in plaid pajamas, but of course with his famous bandana, Van Zant was very impressed.

“It sounded so great in here so I had to come check it out,” said Van Zant, who may have been snooping for guests for his radio show Underground Garage.

Tickets to Kaya Fest are available at KayaFestivals.com