Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

'Positive Music Festival' was a roaring success

Headlined by legendary Jamaican sound engineer and dub pioneer "Scientist," also known as Hopeton Brown, the first "Positive Music Festival" accomplished its goal.


Kailash was nominated Best New Young Artist at the International Reggae and World Music Awards.

The festival was hosted by the Mojave Junior/Senior High School on March 9. Through the power of reggae, dub, poetry, journalism, mindfulness and meditation, the Mojave community came together to celebrate reggae and dub, as well as roots and culture. Festival goers left feeling relaxed and renewed ... revitalized by soulful, righteous messages of love and calls for revolutionary change.

All of the day-long festival's performers were impressive, but without a doubt it was 12-year- old Kailash, nominated Best New Young Artist at the International Reggae and World Music Awards, who stole the show. Precociously talented and poised for his age, Kailash was rhyming, rapping and singing in staggering synchronicity with Scientist as he worked his usual mastery at the digital console. Scientist smiled broadly throughout Kailash's set, obviously surprised, as anyone would be, at such maturity and outsized artistic skill in such a young singer.

Before the music began, there were a number of informative and moving workshops, including one in which members of the High School's "Mustang" Journalism News Team received a lecture on the continuing power and usefulness of journalism. This was delivered with practical pointers on how to submit "opinion essays" for publication to local and national newspapers. This also dovetailed with a special poetry reading given by actress and poet Gia Scott-Heron. Heron unsurprisingly reminded everyone of her father, famous spoken-word performer Gil Scott-Heron's unforgettably influential and cautionary advice, "The revolution will not be televised."

As with any first-time festival, the event was not entirely glitch-free and it had what one might call normal "growing pains." But, because irie vibes predominated, none of these challenges hampered anyone's full-joyment. Rather, festival organizer and educator Empress Truth Akins expressed she hopes she can organize and produce more events like this one, "and it'll just get better and better." For the sake of the community and its children, one can only hope she does.

Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes fulltime and lives in Woodland Hills, California. Follow him on "X"/Twitter @SteveCooperEsq .