• Grimy Styles Performs Austin Reggae Festival 2019

April 17-19, 2020: See You At Auditorium Shores For Next Year’s Austin Reggae Festival!

Thanks to all the locals and out-of-towners who attended the 2019 Austin Reggae Festival. This year’s event was one of our strongest ever!

Stay tuned in the next few weeks as we announce the total funding raised for the Central Texas Food Bank to feed hungry families via the big crowds over these three sunny spring days.

Until then, please mark your calendar for Friday, April 17 through Sunday, April 19, the dates for the 2020 Austin Reggae Festival.

Tickets for the 2020 event will go on sale on Monday, February 3.

Special Admission Deal on Sunday, April 21 If You Enter Auditorium Shores Before 3:00 pm!

On Sunday, April 21, celebrate Easter at the Austin Reggae Festival with two admissions for the price of one if you enter Auditorium Shores before 3:00 pm.

This special entry price is good for tickets bought online or bought at the gate.

Bands for Sunday, April 21 include Starlight (12:15), Roots from the Clay (1:45), Mau Mau Chaplains (3:15), Etana (4:45), Cocoa Tea (6:30) and Freddie McGregor (8:15). Show ends at 9:30 pm on Sunday, April 21.

Come on down to Auditorium Shores to hear some great music while helping the Central Texas Food Bank provide nourishing meals to our hungry neighbors.

2019 Austin Reggae Festival: Last Minute Details!

The 2019 Austin Reggae Festival is here! A few last-minute details to take note of before you head to Auditorium Shores (900 West Riverside Drive).

The weather is amazing. But please wear sunscreen and a hat so that you don’t burn!

Yes, tickets for the event can be purchased at the gate, although you will pay a little more. Buy online before the event to save. Three Day Wristbands are NOT sold on-site — and can only be purchased online and in advance of the event.

Special admission deal on Sunday, April 21. Get two-for-one admission if you enter Auditorium Shores before 3:00 pm on Easter Sunday. This special two-for-one admission deal is only valid on Sunday, April 21. This special two-for-one admission deal is only valid on Sunday, April 21.

Parking at Auditorium Shores can be a little bit challenging. Check out this page for all your options, as well as bus and shuttle information.

Headliners for 2019 include Don Carlos, Mykal Rose, Freddie McGregor, Cocoa Tea and many more. See the full lineup here.

Weather for Friday, Saturday and Sunday looks fantastic. In the unlikely chance that there is rain, please stay tuned to this website (as well as Facebook and Twitter) for updates.

Bring your good vibes to Auditorium Shores — but little else. Click here to learn what is allowed at the Austin Reggae Festival and what is not. Speaking of bringing good vibes to Auditorium Shores, remember that a portion of ticket sales helps the Central Texas Food Bank feed thousands of hungry families in Travis County and surrounding areas.

New craft beers at the Austin Reggae Festival. If you get thirsty at this year’s event, then be sure to enjoy some of the craft beers that will be available for purchase.

For other questions about the 2019 event, please visit the Austin Reggae Festival FAQ page.

2019 Austin Reggae Fest Tickets On Sale Now

Click here to buy VIP Passes, Three Day Wristbands, and Single Day Tickets for the 2019 Austn Reggae Festival!!

Be sure to review the Parking Information and the What Can I Bring section before heading to Auditorium Shores.

Friday, April 19 Lineup / Gates open 3:00 pm
5:00: The Late Ones (Laie, Hawaii)Listen here
6:30: Hempress Sativa (Kingston, Jamaica)Listen here
8:30: Don Carlos (Kingston, Jamaica)Listen here

Saturday, April 20 Lineup / Gates open at noon
12:30: Lion Heights (Austin)Listen here
2:00: Grimy Styles (Austin)Listen here
3:30: General Smiley / Lakandon (Los Angeles)Listen here
5:00: Jah9 (Kingston, Jamaica)Listen here
6:45: Baby Cham (Kingston, Jamaica)Listen here
8:30: Mykal Rose (Kingstom, Jamaica)Listen here

Sunday, April 21 Lineup / Gates open at noon
Two-for-one admission if enter before 3:00 pm on Sunday only
12:15: Starlighter (San Antonio)Listen here
1:45: Roots from the Clay (Houston)Listen here
3:15: Mau Mau Chaplains (Austin)Listen here
4:45: Etana (Kingston, Jamaica)Listen here
6:30: Cocoa Tea (Clarendon Parish, Jamaica)Listen here
8:15: Freddie McGregor (Clarendon Parish, Jamaica)Listen here

Read band biographies, plus learn when Auditorium Shores opens and closes for each day of the event by visiting the Lineup page.

For 2019, the Austin Reggae Festival again helps the Central Texas Food Bank feed thousands and thousands of hungry families.

Finally, follow the Austin Reggae Festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

ATX Sound System: April 18, 2019

Mr. McGregor, Please Take a Bow

Ahead of his set at Austin Reggae Fest on Sunday (4/21), we’ve also had our favorite Freddie McGregor album in heavy rotation this week. Released in 1979, Mr. McGregor is the singer’s “real” debut solo album, released on the Observer label, and several factors combined to make this recording special, including the producer, the backing band and the studio where it was made.

When we say it was his “real” first album, that’s because the iconic Bobby Bobylon was also released that same year by Studio One. However, Bobylon contains tracks recorded over a period of years for Coxsone Dodd prior to release and thus lacks some of the cohesion of a proper album, in our opinion.

The use of several foundational (read: familiar) instrumentals from Studio One’s back catalog on Bobylon helped to make it an especially user-friendly proposition, contributing to its’ “classic” status. Mr. McGregor, by comparison, is noticeably tougher: The production is harder, crisper, and the band more muscular. In short, it was a more roots-y and contemporary sound for the time, and a more fully-realized album on the whole.

The biggest influence on Mr. McGregor was producer Winston “Niney” Holness (aka Niney the Observer). Niney and his friend Lee “Scratch” Perry were both alumni of Joe Gibbs’ studio in the 1960s, and the two young producers played a significant role in the birth of modern reggae music at the end of that decade. Niney was also an ardent dread who made his disposition well known with the release of his blistering classic “Blood and Fire” in 1971, and he would go on to produce some of the hardest tunes in the catalogs of Max Romeo, Johnnie Clarke, Big Youth and others throughout the 1970s. By the time he went into the studio with McGregor, Niney had softened up a little bit. But only a little.

Also fundamental here is the backing band, the members of which included Leroy “Horsemouth” Brown (drums), George “Fully” Fullwood (bass), Earl “Chinna” Smith and Eric “Bingy Bunny” Lamont (guitar), Keith Sterling (keyboards) and Uziah “Sticky” Thompson (percussion). Effectively, this band was the Soul Syndicate, who had recorded with everyone from Augustus Pablo to King Tubby, and had served as Niney’s house band for years (they were also known alternately as The Observers and, when recording for Joe Gibbs, as the Aggrovators). Among other plaudits, Fully was the man responsible for the legendary “Stalag” bassline (Sister Nancy’s “Bam Bam”, Tenor Saw’s “Ring The Alarm” and countless hip-hop samples since), Chinna played with Bob Marley, while Bingy was also a member of the Morwells and, later, Roots Radics. Suffice to say, McGregor was working with probably the finest session band on the island at the time.

Finally, there was the studio, Channel One. It was something of a revival period for Channel One. King Tubby protege Scientist had recently become their new house engineer (though he did not work on this album) and, after the owner’s nephew was put in charge of the operation in the late-70s, a new 16-track console was installed, giving the facility a significant update. Channel One had always been renowned for its great drum sound, but this new board gave the adventurous Niney more freedom with which to work and would be responsible for the aforementioned crisper, more modern sound.

McGregor, meanwhile, was encouraged to explore both of his definitive styles–socially-conscious roots and radio-friendly Lovers Rock–and he does so evenly and convincingly. There’s nothing too syrupy (though “Brandy” pushes the envelope) nor anything too militant (however, “Rastaman Camp” and “Walls of Jericho” could certainly rattle a lightweight dread). Ultimately, Mr. McGregor was another one of those special moments in reggae history when Jah seemed to guide all of the planets into alignment.


Lee “Scratch” Perry Makes a Mix

We were pleasantly surprised this week to see a brand new 50-minute mix by none other than Lee “Scratch” Perry himself, created for XLR8R. Comprising material old and new, it spans the iconic artist’s career from the early days right up to his forthcoming collaboration with producer and On-U Sound founder Adrian Sherwood.

London-born Sherwood first worked with Scratch in the mid-1980s and has since worked with the likes of Prince Far-I, Sly & Robbie, Primal Scream and Mikey Dread. Their forthcoming album together is titled Rainford, a nod to Scratch’s birth name, Rainford Hugh Perry, and is released May 31.

True to form, you can hear Scratch picking up the mic throughout the mix, occasionally speaking, babbling or simply making breathing noises. Which is somehow perfect. The highlight, however, is the as-yet-unreleased new material. While Scratch has been remarkably prolific of late (especially for a man now in his 80s), On-U Sound is boasting that this might be Perry’s “strongest batch of original material in years.” Judging from what we’ve heard here, they may not be wrong.

Listen here: XLR8R 589 – Lee Scratch Perry.


Click here to hear all the dub sounds we have been listening to the last few days.