Interview with Reggae on the Mountain co – founder Amit Gilad


The 9th annual Reggae on the Mountain Festival, a music festival in Topanga Canyon, California, is set to take place this year during July 14 – 15. The festival, founded by Californians Amit Gilad and Brooks Ellis, is set to bring in music-lovers of all ages, reggae fans from all over the country, as well local artists and international acts. JBTV caught up with co-founder Amit Gilad to find out more.

Amit Gilad and fellow co-founder Brooks Ellis both grew up in Topanga Canyon and Gilad says their decision to create a reggae festival was made with the intention of bringing a different vibe to the established music scene.  “We wanted to build a musical culture, but bring something more diverse,” Gilad said.

Gilad also believes that their experiences growing up in Topanga influenced their choice to create the festival. “Topanga has an incredible rich history, as we grew up surrounded by amazing musicians and a culture of music,” Gilad said.

Given said history, giving back to the community is an important factor for Gilad. Therefore, the funds from the festival go directly towards the Topanga Community Club, a volunteer, non – profit organization that provides various services and activities to the community.

Both Gilad and Ellis proposed the idea for the fest to the board of directors of the Topanga Community Club when they were 18 and 20 years old, respectively.

“The people on the board saw us grow up and provided us with the investment,” Gilad said. “It’s a cool example of people in the community investing in the youth and, years later, they’re the biggest fundraiser.” The involvement of the community in the festival doesn’t stop there. Gilad also explained that they’re an integral part of the of the team.

“The entire staff of the fest, from the box office to the bar, is made up of friends and family of the community,” Gilad said.

Gilad also credits a part of their success to their early – on involvement with Topanga Days, a festival in Topanga that has been going on for 40 years.  “Now here we are, 9 years later, driven to bring bigger artists,” Gilad said.

So, what artists exactly are they interested in bringing in and what is new about the festival this year? According to Gilad, Damian Marley would be one of their dream headliners for the 10th anniversary of the festival next year. This year, however, they’re thrilled to bring in reggae legends The Toots and The Maytals.

“It’s a big deal, which was reflected in ticket sales,” Gilad said. “It’s the biggest artist we’ve had to so far, so that’s exciting.”

For more information and tickets to Reggae on the Mountain Fest, click here:

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