The Very Last Chapter of the Reggae War: Dimmick Ranch Under Foreclosure

Hank Sims / Thursday, May 17, 2012 @ 8:24 a.m. / News

A legal notice in this morning’s Times-Standard mentions that the Dimmick Ranch — one-time home to “Reggae Rising,” the rogue offshoot in the Late Great SoHum Reggae Wars — is under foreclosure. Redwood Capital Bank is scheduled to auction off the property on the courthouse steps on June 7, after owner Tom Dimmick, who once had hoped to transform his family property into a world-class entertainment venue, defaulted on a $1 million loan.

The Reggae Wars broke out in 2006, when Dimmick and concert promoter Carol Bruno attempted to wrest control of the hugely successful “Reggae on the River” festival from its sponsor, the Mateel Community Center. In the legal actions that followed, the Mateel was able to maintain control of the the “Reggae on the River” brand, but Dimmick and Bruno — who had been booking the festival for years — soon announced that they would throw a rival festival, to be known as “Reggae Rising.” 

The split triggered a civil war within the SoHum hippie community, with longtime Mateelians bitterly lining up behind one faction or the other. Dimmick and Bruno began to put on other types of concerts on the property, which lines the South Fork of the Eel near the Humboldt/Mendocino County line.

But Dimmick later acquired full control the “Reggae Rising” festival from Bruno, and in 2010 he failed to acquire proper permits from the county. Everything went downhill from there. In the meanwhile, the Mateel Community Center’s original Reggae on the River festival carries on, though much downsized from its glory days.

With the Dimmick Ranch gone under, the final outcome of the Reggae Wars seems pretty conclusive: Everyone lost.

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