Cody Jinks
Carlos M. Gonzales

Rebels & Renegades Brings Hippies and Cowboys together in California’s Monterey Bay

Outlaw country, bluegrass, indie rock and more collided this past weekend at the first annual Rebels & Renegades festival at the historic Monterey County Fairgrounds in California. The inaugural gathering brought together both hippies and cowboys with performances from Cody Jinks, Orville Peck, Sierra Hull, Nikki Lane, Charles Wesley Godwin and others.

The festival is produced by Monterey based production company Good Vibez Presents led by Dan and Amy Sheehan. Around since 2008, the company is best known for producing the California Roots Festival, a celebration of reggae music that's taken place on the same site on Memorial Day weekend for over a decade. The Sheehans' experience putting on that event along with others in Hawaii, Arizona, North Carolina and Mexico provided them ample experience that led to a smoothly run and well laid out Rebels & Renegades Festival. 

"We know how to use this venue better than any promoter," Dan Sheehan tells Wide Open Country. "I live five minutes down the road so I'm always here, whether it's to work on our events, teach my daughter how to ride her bike, or something else."

cody jinks

Carlos M. Gonzales

Although their premiere event is California Roots, the Sheehans said that their go-to music of choice is actually country music. Longtime fans of three chords and the truth, the husband and wife wanted to create an event tying into those musical tastes while also bringing a completely new sounding event to the place they call home.

"I grew up in Hawaii around reggae music, have been a radio DJ in Guam and currently host 'Cali Roots Radio' on Sirius XM every Monday at 8 p.m. PST, but have always been a diehard country music fan too," says Sheehan. "Even though we're far from Nashville, California has always had a great country music scene. We're excited to finally tap into that with Rebels & Renegades." 

Despite the California Roots Festival currently being the largest annual event at the fairgrounds, the site is perhaps best known for hosting the iconic Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 that saw the first major American performances from Jimi Hendrix (who burned his guitar on stage), The Who (who destroyed all of their gear), Ravi Shankar, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding. The star-studded gathering is considered one of the first American music festivals, coming before Woodstock and only a few years after the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals. 

Currently Rebels & Renegades doesn't use the fairgrounds' main stage regarded for its Monterey Pop antics, but Sheehan plans for the festival to expand and use it as a third stage in the future.

"That stage is the birthplace of the American music festival," says Sheehan. "We're incredibly fortunate to be able to produce events at a place as rich in history as this. It's a special place to have a show."

To celebrate the first annual Rebels & Renegades Festival we've gathered up our top eight performances from the action-packed weekend below.

Sierra Hull

sierra hull

Carlos M. Gonzales

Bringing a bit of bluegrass to Rebels & Renegades was mandolin master Sierra Hull, who lit up the festival's secondary Little Sur stage with a steamy set of sweet string music. The trailblazing picker and 2018 IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year ran through hits like "Poison" and "What Do You Say?" along with newer songs like "Boom" (which was recently featured by Western AF) and a cover of Del McCoury's "I Feel The Blues Moving In," each illustrating the artist's advanced skill set and appreciation for the genre's roots while at the same time moving the music forward.



Carlos M. Gonzales

Veering from much of the festival's country adjacent soundscapes in favor of pop and rock stylings similar to Caamp and Dawes, Houndmouth delivered one of Rebels & Renegades most eye-opening sets. The Louisville and Southern Indiana based group welcomed the afternoon's golden hour with a set of glimmering indie rock stylings spanning their entire catalog. The crowd joined them in unison in singing hits like "Good For You," "Palmyra" and the set-closing "Sedona," but the show's grandest moment came on a solo performance of "For No One" from guitarist Matt Myers. The stripped back song tells of a Hunter S. Thompson-esque, acid-laced coming of age adventure as Myers sings "Go and take the millions / Take the dirty hats and stick them up your ass / I'll take the cheap seats / For my company don't come served inside a glass."

Orville Peck

orville peck

Carlos M. Gonzales

A little bit country, a whole lotta blues and one hell of a showman, Orville Peck brought the Rebels & Renegades crowd to a fever pitch on Saturday night. The beloved masked singer channeled equal parts Elvis and Roy Orbison during his enchanting set as he moved between cuts from his California country sounding Bronco like "Lafayette" and "The Curse Of the Blackened Eye," Nashville-infused hits like Shania Twain co-write "Legends Never Die" and "Dead Of Night," a story of unrequited love that combines Peck's influences into an intoxicating musical gumbo. 

Kat Hasty

kat hasty

Carlos M. Gonzales

Kicking off day two of Rebels & Renegades was rising Texas country artist Kat Hasty. The up and comer delivered raw performances of originals like "Where The Wildflowers Lay" and its prequel "Burn It Down," a song about retaliating to the actions of a lost lover that exemplifies Hasty's deeply personal storytelling and haunting vocals. However, an empowering tune about never settling for less than what you're worth that sees the artist sing "I'm never gonna be your southern Texas wanna be beauty queen / I'm never gonna be your red dress, long leg, blonde haired southern dream / I know I'm worth more than just the pretty things / And that's alright by me."

Nikki Lane

nikki lane

Carlos M. Gonzales

On the eve of her 39th birthday, outlaw country queen Nikki Lane wowed the Rebels & Renegades crowd with a mix of hellacious honky tonk and rowdy rock'n roll. Less than a month removed from the release of her album Denim & Diamonds, several cuts from the project made appearances during her set including "First High," "Good Enough" and "Denim & Diamonds. Also mixed in were several older tunes like "Highway Queen," "700,000 Rednecks," "Send The Sun" and "Jackpot" along with covers of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Fishing In The Dark" and the Mickey Newbury penned, Jessi Colter popularized hit "Why You Been Gone So Long."

Charles Wesley Godwin

charles wesley godwin

Jem San Pedro

Appalachian music is currently having a moment, and one of the artists at the center of the golden age is West Virginia's Charles Wesley Godwin. Following several dates throughout the year with another of country music's fast rising stars, Zach Bryan, Godwin and his band The Allegheny High have had fans flocking to hear their sermons of country, rock and soul. His appearance at Rebels & Renegades was no exception as the largest crowd all weekend at the Little Sur Stage sang along to songs like "Lyin Low," "Temporary Town" and "Jamie" — a co-write with Bryan that appeared on his record Summertime Blues.

Shooter Jennings

shooter jennings

Carlos M. Gonzales

L.A. native Shooter Jennings paid tribute to the late, great Warren Zevon with his appropriately named backing band Werewolves of Los Angeles as he sent the burgeoning Rebels & Renegades crowd into a frenzy on Sunday night. From the get-go Jennings was firing on all cylinders as he opened with "Lawyers, Guns And Money" before moving into "Momma Couldn't Be Persuaded," "Keep Me In Your Heart" and of course, "Werewolves Of London." Also mixed in were a couple of the artist's original tunes like "Steady At The Wheel" and "Leave Those Memories Alone," each displaying the artist's signature swagger that has long captivated fans and fellow artists alike.

Cody Jinks

cody jinks

Carlos M. Gonzales

Closing out the festival coined for bringing together both hippies and cowboys was the ringleader of both, Texan Cody Jinks. The honky tonk hero stormed through his headlining set with reckless abandon, running through songs like "All It Cost Me Was Everything," "Ain't A Train," "Same Kind Of Crazy As Me" and more. However, the highlights of his set came during a closing performance of arguably his most memorable tune, "Hippies And Cowboys," along with an electrifying rendition of "Must Be The Whiskey" that saw the amped up audience take over during the chorus, belting out the song's title in an alcohol induced state of bliss.

Rebels & Renegades will expand to three days next year, taking place Oct. 6-8, 2023.

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