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2018 Vendor Application Process Begins Nov 1

Interested in being a vendor at the 2018 Austin Reggae Festival, which is scheduled for Friday, April 20 through Sunday, April 22 at Auditorium Shores? For next April, we will have a very limited number of slots open for new vendors. Please connect with Pat Costigan at pwccostigan at yahoo dot com beginning Wednesday, November 1 for more info on these limited vendor openings.

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2018 Austin Reggae Festival Runs April 20-22

Thanks to everyone who came to Auditorium Shores for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival. Stay tuned to this website over the next few weeks for exact totals on how much money this year’s event raised to help the Central Texas Food Bank feed hungry families.

Also, mark your calendar now for 2018. Dates for next spring at Auditorium Shores are Friday, April 20 through Sunday, April 22. Headline acts will be announced in mid-January (via this website) and advance tickets will go on sale on Thursday, February 1.

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Final Day of the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival: Akae Beka at 7:30 pm on Sunday, April 16

WEATHER UPDATE FOR APRIL 16. Conditions for Easter Sunday at Auditorium Shores in downtown Austin should be great. Look for a high of 83 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.

Also, please note that the pick-up spot for the free shuttle bus stop has moved to the 500 block of West 4th Street, just across the street from Mellow Johnny’s.

Otherwise, our annual celebration of spring sunshine, dub music, delicious international food, hand-made arts & crafts, as well as community-focused compassion has arrived! In addition to the FAQ page, quick links to some of the most important information about this year’s fun-filled fundraiser for the Central Texas Food Bank are listed below.

Remember that you can still get your 2017 Austin Reggae Fest tickets online. Or, just purchase tickets at the gate for $20 per day. See you soon at Auditorium Shores!

And, start planning now for the 2018 Austin Reggae Festival. Dates for next year are Friday, April 20 through Sunday, April 22.

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Gone But Not Forgotten: Remembering Longtime Austin Reggae Festival Staffer Denny Fincher

The Austin Reggae Festival community is a very special one that helps raise funds for a very special cause, the Central Texas Food Bank. You who are our guests at Auditorium Shores are a big part of this community. This community also consists of the dedicated team who staff the Austin Reggae Festival, most of which have worked on this event for many many years.

In February, one of the most important members of this team passed away — Denny Fincher (pictured above in green shirt). He was the person who manned the back stage gate and he had held this job for more than 15 years. Denny embodied everything that is good about the Austin Reggae Festival. He was happy and always wore a smile. He had lots and lots of positive energy. He looked for ways to help people, not harm them. Denny treated everyone with respect. And, Denny was a big believer in the mission of the Austin Reggae Festival — which is to assist the Central Texas Food Bank provide nutritious meals for our less fortunate neighbors in Travis County and the surrounding areas.

On the afternoon of April 15, we honored Denny with a special tribute from the Austin Reggae Festival stage. As emcee Jah Ray implored the crowd, “Remember to live each minute and each hour and each day to its fullest potential. Be sure to tell the people in your life how important they are to you. Always embrace love over fear. Let go of the hate in your life. Do the small things that you can to make the world a better place.

Denny’s physical presence at the event will be missed. But, we know his spirit will continue to positively influence the Austin Reggae Festival for many many years forward.

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Jamaican Superstar Tarrus Riley Wants You to Attend the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival!

Catch Jamaican reggae superstar Tarrus Riley at 8:30 pm on Friday, April 14, which is the first day of the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival.

As he reminds us in this cool video, proceeds from this event help the Central Texas Food Bank provide thousands of nourishing meals for hungry families in Austin and in the surrounding counties.

Buy your tickets now to be part of all these positive vibrations from Tarrus Riley — and the other great performers who will be at Auditorium Shores April 14-16.

Also, read these FAQs before you head to the weekend so that you can know all the Austin Reggae Festival details!

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I Can See Clearly Now the Rain is Gone! Weather Updates for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival

Its gonna be a bright, bright sunshinnin’ day!

Yes, you know the Johnny Nash song . . .

While we may see some rain through Thursday afternoon, the forecast for Central Texas improves considerably beginning on April 14 (the first day of the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival). But, please stay tuned to this website as well as Facebook and Twitter for weather-related updates about this year’s event. And if rain does return to Austin over the weekend, then be sure to check here before you head to Auditorium Shores in case we have cancellation / ticket refund information. Otherwise, see you in downtown Austin when gates open at 3:00 pm on Friday!

Also, stay current on other event-related information by browsing the FAQ page.

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April 13 is Final Day to Buy Advance VIP Pass

Thursday, April 13 is the final day to purchase advance VIP Passes for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival — ticket sales will end at 11:59 pm Central Daylight Time. If you purchase a VIP Pass, then you get to hang out in the Chill Zone. Equipped with chairs, a cash bar, rest rooms, the Chill Zone includes lots of shade so you can keep cool even when it is hot out. Your VIP Pass also includes one-day admission to the event, as well as a 2017 t-shirt

Click here to get get a VIP Pass and access the Chill Zone at this year’s event!

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Voices of the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival: Sista Irie of KAZI-FM and KOOP-FM

Another local radio personality who has been central to the growth of the Austin Reggae Festival is Sista Irie. In addition to hosting the weekly “Conscious Party” program on community station KAZI-FM, she is also the Executive Director of KOOP-FM. Today she talks about why community radio is so important and also shares some of her top reggae-related memories. Join Sista Irie at Auditorium Shores April 14-16 by purchasing your single-day ticket or Three-Day Pass to this year’s event.

QUESTION: What band or musician are you most excited about at the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival?

I am a major fan of Tarrus Riley, having witnessed the evolution of his career from when he first entered the industry until now. Band leader Dean Frazer ensures Tarrus and the Black Soil Band is a fully choreographed production featuring special vignettes of talent.

QUESTION: 2017 will be the 24th year of the Austin Reggae Festival. What is your best memory of this event from year’s past?

Each year provided me with well loved lasting memories. Over 22 years, Austin Reggae Festival has grown and placed itself in a major reggae category festival equal to those on the West Coast. If I had to pick one of my favorite shows, it was the night Morgan Heritage closed the show in 2007.

QUESTION: Over the years, you’ve seen many great reggae / world music shows in Austin and around the world. Is there any single performance that stands out most in your mind?

I have been blessed to see reggae shows all over Europe, Montreal, Jamaica, and the United States. My favorite experience was in Spain seeing how the whole city/town of Benicassim supports Rototom Sunsplash from free bus rides, retailer window displays and festival goer discounts. The town greatly benefits from the partnership. I think Austin could do more to support the Austin Reggae Festival just like it does SXSW.

QUESTION: You have also done a lot of concert photography. Of the hundreds of shots that you have taken, which one do you like the most and why?

The best shots are always surprise opportunities. One year, when it was raining, there was a beautiful Rastaman on stage with his back to me. I captured his natty dread silhouette with the stage lights shimmering from the falling raindrops. I would have gladly traded the shot for a clear night.


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Voices of the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival: Jay Trachtenberg of KUTX

Today we talk to longtime KUTX radio personality Jay Trachtenberg, who is one of Austin’s foremost authorities on reggae, dub and world music. As he notes in the interview below, Trachtenberg is particularly looking forward to the Friday, April 14 lineup at the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival. Click here to buy April 14 single day tickets, as well as Three Day Wristbands and VIP Passes (which allow access to the new Chill Zone).

QUESTION: What band are you most excited about at the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival and why?

I’m most excited about seeing Tarrus Riley with Dean Fraser and the Black Soil Band on Friday, April 14. Riley has been a big hit maker in Jamaica for years and saxman Dean Fraser has played on literally thousands of songs over his decades-long career.

QUESTION: As in previous years, Angela Tharp of Flamingo Cantina helps book talent for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival. What is the best show you’ve ever attended at Flamingo and why?

Any one of the times the Skatalites have played there when they still had original drummer Lloyd Knibbs and original bassist Lloyd Brevett.  When that tandem locked it in, there was nothing else like it.

QUESTION: Above and beyond Flamingo, you’ve been around the reggae / world music scene in Austin for more than three decades. What was the best reggae / world music show you ever saw here and why?

It’s really hard to pick just one but, that said, the first appearance of Burning Spear at Liberty Lunch in the mid-80s stands out for me.  He would subsequently play there many times to a packed house but that first visit was only about half full and the music was so deep and so raw and so powerful, especially compared to all the many other bands that had previously played at The Lunch.  That night has always stood out in my mind.

QUESTION: The Mau Mau Chaplains perform on Sunday, April 16 at the Austin Reggae Festival. This band originated in the 1980s as the Lotions. Do you remember the first time you saw the Lotions perform?

It was probably back in 1979 or ’80, when I was still in grad school, at one of their Tuesday night residencies at Liberty Lunch.  I would see the Lotions many, many times after that.  In fact, I recently saw the Mau Maus and they sounded great.  For those of us who love the old school, roots sounds, these guys have it nailed down!

QUESTION: How does the reggae / world music scene in Austin in 2017 compare to what was here in the heyday of the Liberty Lunch era?

There is no comparison. Back in the 1980s there seemed to be a world class reggae band from Jamaica or an incredible African band at The Lunch virtually every weekend or at least several times a month.  Now we’re fortunate if one such band comes through town in a given month.  No comparison.

QUESTION: What was your favorite Austin-based reggae / world music band from that era?

Dan Del Santo led a Fela-like juggernaut for awhile and the Killer Bees had a nice long run. And it was always a party with The Lotions and Pressure.

QUESTION: You have done a lot of writing about reggae / world music for the Austin Chronicle. What was your favorite band to write about and why?

I love writing about the Skatalites because they meld two of my very favorites sound, reggae and jazz.


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FAQs for the Austin Reggae Festival

When did the Austin Reggae Festival begin?
The first year of the Austin Reggae Festival was 1994. So the 2018 event marks the 25th anniversary of this amazing event.

What bands have played the Austin Reggae Festival over the last 25 years?
Top dub, roots and ska acts who have performed at the Austin Reggae Festival since the event began in 1987 include The Aggrolites (2013), Akae Beka (2017), Alika (2015), Bunny Wailer (2016), Cartlon Pride (2004), Cas Haley (2012), Collie Buddz (2012), Culture (2008), Dr. Dubbist (2011), Dubtronic Kru (2012), Everton Blender (2014), Easy Star All Stars (2006), Full Service (2008), Grimy Styles (2011), Grupo Fantasma (2012), Inner Circle (2014), Israel Vibration & the Root Raddics Band, (2012), Jesse Royal (2017), Josh Heinrichs (2012), Katchafire (2016), Killer Bees (2001), Lance Herbstrong (2013), Luciano (2008), Lee “Scratch” Perry (2014), The Lions (2013), Mighty Diamonds (2010), Mystic Roots (2012), Qwiksand (2008), Raging Fyah (2016), Rootz Underground (2012), Sierra Leonne Refuge All Stars (2010), The Skatalites (2016), Stranger (2016), Tarrus Riley (2017), Tidal Waves (2012), Tribal Seeds (2011), Taj Weekes (2011), Tribal Nation (2009), The Wailers (2013), Watusi (2004), King Yellowman (2015), and many many many others.

Can I still buy advance tickets for the 2018 event?

Yes, advance tickets for the 2018 Austin Reggae Festival are available until 11:59 pm Central Time on Thursday, April 19.

Can I buy tickets at the gate?
Yes, tickets are available at the gate for $20 per day on Friday, April 20 and Sunday, April 22. For Saturday, April 21, the price at the gate is $30.

Are there still vendor booths open for the 2018 event?
Unfortunately, all vendor booths are sold out for this year.

Are dogs / cats / pets allowed at the Austin Reggae Festival?
Unfortunately not. Only humans who have positive vibes are allowed at the event.

Can I bring food and drink into the event?
No outside food allowed at the Austin Reggae Festival. For full list of what is and isn’t allowed at the event, check here.

Can I leave Auditorium Shores and then re-enter the park?
Only if you have a Three Day Wristband or a VIP Pass. If you only have single day ticket, then you can NOT re-enter Auditorium Shores after you leave the park.

How do I buy a Three Day Wristband so that I can leave and re-enter the Auditorium Shores?
Buy your Three Day Wristband here.

How do I buy VIP Passes?
Find out more about VIP Passes (which gains you access to a shaded seat and the backstage bar) on this page.

Who benefits from ticket proceeds from the Austin Reggae Festival?
The Austin Reggae Festival benefits the Central Texas Food Bank.

Is there overnight camping at Auditorium Shores?
Unfortunately not — all patrons must leave the park when the show ends at 10:00 pm each evening.

Is there still a free shuttle bus?
Yes — on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 only. The free shuttle bus does NOT run on Friday, April 20. Note that for 2018, we have a new shuttle bus pickup location. Read more about parking here.

Where is the new shuttle bus pickup location?
For 2018, the free Austin Reggae Festival shuttle bus pickup location has changed to the TX DOT Riverside Campus at 150 East Riverside Drive. Free shuttle bus only available on Sat, April 21 and Sun, April 22 — there is no free shuttle bus on Fri, April 20. Moreover, the long-time free shuttle bus stop at 4th and Colorado will no longer be serviced.

What are the best parking options for Auditorium Shores?
See parking information on this page.

What can I bring to Auditorium Shores?
For full list of what is and isn’t allowed at the Austin Reggae Festival, check here.

What is the cost for children to attend the 2018 Austin Reggae Festival?
Children 12 and under are free if accompanied by a parent or adult.

What kind of beer will you have at this year’s Austin Reggae Festival?
Click here for more information on the beer at this year’s event.

When do gates open?
Gates open at 3:00 pm on Friday, April 20 and at noon on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22.

Which bands play on what days?
See the full day-by-day, hour-by-hour lineup here.

Where is Auditorium Shores?
Auditorium Shores is located in downtown Austin at 900 W Riverside Dr, 78704.

Who books the talent?
Angela Tharp of Flamingo Cantina books all the bands.

Will the event be canceled if there is bad weather?
Stay tuned to this website as well as Facebook and Twitter for weather-related updates.

Isn’t there an event for startups that happens about the same time as the Austin Reggae Festival?
Yes, check out the Austin Cannabis Entrepreneur (ACE) Conference on April 19-20 at the Hyatt Regency.

Do you have dates for 2019 yet?
Dates for next year are Friday, April 19 through Sunday, April 21. So, for next year, 4-20 falls on the Saturday of Austin Reggae Festival.

I have more questions. How do I contact you guys?
Email us at austinreggaefest at gmail dot com.

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