An Interview with Justin Crellin, Producer, Reggae on the River

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Recently, NorCal Reggae Calendar had an opportunity to chat with Justin Crellin, Producer for Reggae on the River, or simply ‘Reggae’ as it’s known by locals and patrons. He was excited to talk about the upcoming annual festival in Humboldt County, California.

Justin’s background in equipment management, booking, and production at the Mateel Community Center and University of Oregon gave him the foundation and leadership experience necessary to take on this massive role of festival producer. He explained that it takes a great team to be a progressive festival with enthusiasm for providing world-class entertainment, protecting the natural environment, and making guests feel at home. This will be Justin’s 9th year booking/producing R.O.T.R. and he has the energy to produce for years to come!

When asked about his philosophy on bringing teams together, either volunteers or staff, Justin replied, “Do it with love, compassion, and appreciation and recognize that each and every person is giving of themselves to make Reggae on the River happen.” It is apparent that producing the festival is a challenge met with passion and loyalty from all of its contributors.

ROTR 2016 is expecting many first-time attendees. Justin wants to make sure everyone is prepared to have the best experience possible, so he has a few pointers. “Get the 4-day ticket to get set up early and acclimated to the venue,” he explained. “Read the program guide to get familiar with all the offerings/services and to map out all the artists you know you want to catch over the weekend.” Case in point, get there early! There’s lots to see and do.

“There are a few changes will take place at Reggae on the River this year,” Justin explained.

One of which has to do with your camping options. Depending on your preferred level of comfort, you may be interested in the new Premier Camping upgrade, available for a nominal fee. This new platform will ease your mind when it comes to choosing a camping space. It’s important to remember that the campground will become your home for the whole weekend, so why not invest in your comfort? This upgrade will give tent-campers access to added shade, a location adjacent to the main stage, and more. Don’t wait – Premier Camping is limited.

Also, one of the changes taking place will benefit global charities related to reggae culture. This statement and act of kindness from ROTR is a gift from our reggae community to others around the world. To contribute, all one needs to do is purchase an Ambassador ticket, where 10% of the gross ticket price will support the foundation for our enjoyment at Reggae on the River. Ambassador ticket-holders will get a special viewing area next to the stage for those close up photo opportunities. In addition, the Ambassadors will use a private cocktail lounge, private portable toilets, upgraded camping and more!

With the growing presence of reggae and world festivals in Northern California, it is increasingly important for ROTR to appeal to the changing tastes of the reggae community. “Our strength is diversity. We aren’t too heavy in one direction,” Justin said regarding ROTR’s choices in musical acts. “We bring Latin, Jamaican, American, Polynesian, European, and African musicians, among others.” Artists on the bill also include male and female lead roles. It’s clear that everybody who attends will satisfy their soul, just as the legend Bob Marley chanted in his famous song.

If you or somebody you know would like to be a part of a volunteer team, don’t hesitate to inquire! Positions are currently full, but cancellations do occur. This is a cost-effective way to share the ROTR experience and give back to an amazing non-profit at the same time.

In conclusion. Reggae on the River is a festival than can’t be missed. It recently won the “Legacy Festival Award” which is given to festivals that have a message of love and peace in addition to standing the test of time. See you on the Eel River, August 4 – 7!

Justin would like to thank the following agencies:

Humboldt County Planning and Building Department

Humboldt County Public Works

Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office



California Highway Patrol

Northwest Region Water Quality Board

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

California States Parks

Army Corp of Engineers (Federal Level)



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