#IsItMayYet? Nope, but we’ve got the first taste of what you’ll be hearing! I got to chat with Dan Sheehan, talent buyer and co-producer/co-owner of California Roots, about all the deets including who he’s excited about and what he looks for when booking new up-and-coming artists. All of us at Bulldog Media are very pleased to announce the first lineup of artists for California Roots Music & Art Festival 2018, watch the vid and give us a share 🙂
AA: So what artists excite you the most out of this first announcement?
DS: I’m really excited to see Alpha Blondy play this year. He has always been a favorite. Raging Fyah is really good as well. They are young and really deliver a great message.
AA: I’m not super familiar with Alpha Blondy, what made you wanna book him?
DS: I grew up in Hawai’i and reggae music was everywhere, I’ve been listening to it as long as I can remember. I’m 40 year old so an artist like Alpha Blondy was a big part of my childhood and also the landscape of reggae in Hawai’i; songs like “Jerusalem” and “Cocoa de Rock” and were pretty much anthems. He’s been a big influence in the reggae community as well, supposedly Cocoa the Tour Dog is named after that song. He’s headlined Reggae on the River, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival … he’s definitely a fan favorite, especially in the roots reggae world. He’s a special artist and we’re super excited to have him next year.
AA: That’s why Cali Roots is so amazing, you get exposed to all these artists you’ve never listened to and you fall in love with them. I can’t wait to check out his set.
DS: I feel like that’s part of my responsibility as a talent buyer. The responsibility of any festival is to open people’s minds up to new music, or old music that they may not have heard otherwise. Bands like Rebelution, Iration, Slightly Stoopid, Tribal Seeds will get people through the gates … then they get exposed to the roots. Last year we had Yellowman, a legendary roots artist. We also had the younger generation of roots artists like Jesse Royal. Hopefully people can expand their musical repertoire and listen to some of the foundation artists.
AA: Yeah, where their favorite music actually came from and who it was inspired by.
AA: So how do up-and-coming bands catch your eye? How do you book new talent?
DS: I’m constantly looking–from Hawai’i to the east coast. I look at what other festivals they’re doing, but moreso it’s about who’s working hard on the road touring and who has a strong social presence. And if the music is good. But to get my attention to listen to the music, there has to be a lot of hard work and effort. Even if they’re grinding it out in their van, playing shows to five people; they’re still putting in the work. In this day and age that’s really what it takes. Grinding. There really are no overnight successes in our genre of music. Even bands like Rebelution and SOJA were grinding for years before they made it big.
AA: Yeah when people talk about Rebelution’s success I don’t think they realize those guys were playing literally every weekend in Isla Vista for years for free.
DS: Yeah they put in the work, you know?
AA: How long does it typically take you to book an artist, start to finish?
DS: From my first offer to my last offer, it takes about six months
AA: If you could pick any artists to play Cali Roots who would it be?
DS: That’s such a hard question… An artist like Manu Chao is someone I would love to have play the festival. A lot of people don’t really know who he is in our little world, but he’s a big name and I think he’d be a really good fit.
AA: Oh my gosh he’s amazing, I’m getting goosebumps thinking about it
DS: Yeah, I saw him 7 or 8 years ago at Smokeout in San Bernardino at the National Orange Show Event Center. He was pounding his chest onstage and the energy he has is really what Cali Roots represents. I would love to have him on our bill at some point.
AA: He would put Cali Roots on the map, no doubt.
DS: I agree, I’ve always said if we could book Manu Chao it would be like our trump card … “They did what?!”
AA: Well, year ten for Cali Roots will be here before we know it. Maybe he will come around for our decade celebration and make it the best ever.
AA: I’m looking forward to it. Wow we’ve been chatting for awhile…
DS: Yeah thanks for taking time out on a Saturday to do this.
AA: Same. Thank you for the opportunity, Dan.
*Get your tickets to Cali Roots HERE and we will see you there! xx