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Voices of the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival: Mark Jackson of the Central Texas Food Bank

For our second interview with people who help organize the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival, we talk with Mark Jackson, who is the Chief Development Officer of the Central Texas Food Bank. He leads a team that is responsible for all of CTFB’s fundraising, marketing, communications and community outreach. Remember that a portion of all ticket sales for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival benefits this incredible charity.

QUESTION: What is your favorite Austin Reggae Festival memory from year’s past?

My favorite Austin Reggae Festival memory is seeing our Food Bank leadership team get involved at the gate, taking donations for the Food Bank. It’s inspiring to see our CEO spreading the message of our mission to festival attendees and cheering whenever a donation is made.

QUESTION: Can people still enter the Austin Reggae Festival for free if they donate two cans of food?

No, it hasn’t been that way for several years. However, we do encourage festival goers to bring donations of cash and non-perishable foods to drop off at the entry gate. Everything helps. Advance tickets can be purchased via this link. Or just bring cash to the gate on April 14, 15 or 16.

QUESTION: If people are going to bring cans of food to Auditorium Shores as an additional donation, what kind of canned food works best for the Central Texas Food Bank?

The Food Bank always needs things like canned tuna or chicken breast, low-sodium canned veggies, canned fruit in its own juice, canned beans and chili.

QUESTION: If someone hasn’t attended the Austin Reggae Festival before, what is the top tip you would give so that they can have a great experience?

Take a look at the list of what you can and can’t bring into the festival grounds and plan accordingly. Then find a good spot and just take it all in.

QUESTION: People watching at Auditorium Shores is really popular. Describe the most interesting person(s) you have seen in year’s past at the Austin Reggae Festival.

The hula hoop dancers always put on impromptu shows that are fun to watch. Their hula hoop tricks are fascinating!

QUESTION: Wearing a hat is always a good way to stay cool at the Austin Reggae Festival. What is your favorite hat and why?

Cowboy hats are a Texas staple and we see a lot of straw cowboy hats at Reggae Fest. Nothing beats the hats with dreadlocks attached through – instant hair style!

QUESTION: What other ways can Austin Reggae Festival attendees help the Central Texas Food Bank.

Of course, donations of food and funds are always welcome. We also depend on volunteers to help us fulfill our mission. And, in addition to Austin Reggae Festival, there are all kinds of fun events throughout the year that benefit the Food Bank. Details on all of this can be found at


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Voices of the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival: Angela Tharp of Flamingo Cantina

Today we begin a series of interviews with people who are involved in the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival. Leading off this series is Angela Tharp, who owns Flamingo Cantina on 6th Street. Angela is also responsible for booking the bands that perform at the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival. Hear all this outstanding dub / world music by purchasing your advance tickets now!

QUESTION: Over the years, you’ve been involved with booking a lot of great acts at the Austin Reggae Festival. What’s your favorite musical memory from the past and why? 

We have been blessed with so many fabulous artists in previous festivals that it is difficult to pick just one, but Israel Vibration put on a particularly moving show a few years back. Seeing Wiss and Skelly performing and dancing on their crutches was overwhelming. To realize what they achieved and obstacles they overcame to be on that stage, is extraordinary. From suffering with childhood polio in Jamaica, to becoming international performers, that’s a big huge accomplishment. And, the artists are the sweetest people with positive outlooks on life.

QUESTION: Which bands are you most excited about for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival and why?

All of our headlining acts are first-time performers to the festival. Tarrus Riley and Dean Fraser and the Blak Soil Band plus Jesse Royal and Akae Beka (of Midnite) can be considered conscious reggae artists with roots in Rastafarianism. All have strong consciousness-leaning themes. Each bring their individual styles and message.

Tarrus Riley is more of a contemporary reggae artist with crossover appeal; Fraser is one of my personal favorite reggae musicians, and I’m excited to see him perform.

Jesse Royal is considered one of the “Reggae Revival” artists coming out of Jamaica. This is a conscious movement back to roots reggae and all that embodies in life and music, so Austin is in for a treat.

Fans of Midnite will be pleased to see Akae Beka with his band “Sunstar and Moon Roots Reggae” perform. It is kind of perfect that he closes out the festival on Easter Sunday. A Rastafarian and spiritual artist, Vaughn Benjamin left Midnite and evolved as “Akae Beka.” He cites, “I Enoch LXVIII and XCVI Life changes, convictions, and revelations compel in this new name the Akae Beka. John 16:13, 14. Some feel besides being a performer and spiritual leader, that he is also a prophet.

QUESTION: As it has in year’s past, the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival benefits the Central Texas Food Bank. Why do you think these two entities are such a good fit?

Many artists hail from lesser-developed countries, and they are no strangers to poverty and what that means. All of the artists have been happy to lend their name to this wonderful cause. It may be hard to believe but there are many that go hungry in our area; the Central Texas Food Bank fills a great need. Pairing the food bank with the Austin Reggae Festival makes sense as it brings the issue to the forefront and makes folks conscious of our neighbor’s needs and how we can all help.


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Craft Beers and Ciders at Austin Reggae Fest!

Absolutely nothing beats a cold brew while you are listening to some way cool tunes and enjoying sunny spring Central Texas weather.

New for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival is the addition of several standout craft beers and ciders to the lineup of available adult beverages. These new options include Austin Eastciders Original Cider, Independence Red Bud Berlinerweisse, Independence Stash IPA, Karbach Love Street Kolsch, Karbach Weekend Warrior Pale Ale, Twisted X Austin Lager, Twisted X Later Days Session IPA and Ziegenbock Amber.

A complete rundown of all the beers and ciders we will be pouring from April 14-16 at Auditorium Shores is as follows:

  • Austin Eastciders Original Cider
    We make Austin Eastciders the traditional way with juice from real cider apples that we source from Europe. Our ciders are full of tannins, creating astringency and a complex flavor profile that’s dry, clean, crisp, refreshing and tastes almost too good going down. Our cider contains roughly two-thirds less sugar than our largest competitors. Translation: less time spent at the gym, more time enjoying a cider you can feel good about drinking.
  • Bud Light
    Premium aroma hop varieties—American-grown and imported—plus barley malts and rice go into the world’s favorite light beer. 4.2% ABV & 110 calories.
  • Budweiser
    Known as “The King of Beers,” Budweiser was first introduced by Adolphus Busch in 1876 and it’s still brewed with the same high standards today. Budweiser is a medium-bodied, flavorful, crisp American-style lager. Brewed with the best barley malt and a blend of premium hop varieties, it is an icon of core American values like optimism and celebration.
  • Independence Red Bud Berlinerweisse
    Inspired by the Berlin wheat beer, Redbud is refreshingly tart and lemony. It has a subtle wheat maltiness and it’s highly effervescent with a crisp finish. It is the perfect beer for scorching Texas summers. Fans of sour beers encouraged us to brew Redbud year-round, so we listened! Since it’s pretty darn warm in Texas 9 months out of the year, it only made sense to brew Redbud all the time.


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Two Weeks Until 2017 Austin Reggae Festival!

Gates for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival open at 3:00 pm on Friday, April 14 at Auditorium Shores in downtown Austin.

Are you ready for all the music, all the food, all the arts & crafts, all the people-watching and all the new connections?

— Have you purchased your advance tickets? You can also buy tickets on site at Auditorium Shores, but you will pay more at the gate.

— Have you considered upgrading your advance tickets to a VIP Pass so that you can have access to the all-new Chill Zone?

— Have you checked the day-by-day, hour-by-hour lineup yet? Music runs until 10:00 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.

— Have you browsed what you can (and can’t) bring to Auditorium Shores. The most important thing to bring is a positive attitude!

— Are you ready to help out the Central Texas Food Bank in their ongoing mission to feed hungry families in and around Austin.

Stay tuned to this site for more information about the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival as we get closer and closer to Friday, April 14.

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Flash Sale Friday on March 31 Now Over

UPDATE: The Flash Sale for Friday, March 31 has now concluded — congrats to everyone who got involved in this promotion. Stay tuned to this site for updates if there is another such deal next week.

Or just CLICK HERE to buy your advance tickets now for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival.

Day-by-day, hour-by-hour line-up for this year’s event posted on this page. Headliners for this year’s event include Tarrus Riley (Fri, April 14), Jesse Royal (Sat, April 15) and Akae Beka (Sun, April 16).

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Upgrade to a VIP Pass: Access the Chill Zone

With music beginning at 6:00 pm on Friday, April 14 and continuing through 9:00 pm on Sunday, April 16, the day-by-day, hour-by-hour lineup for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival is now posted online.

CLICK HERE to buy Three Day Wristbands and single day tickets for this year’s event.

But if you looking for a new and different way to experience the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival, then buy a VIP Pass for one (or more) days of this year’s event.

Purchasing a VIP Pass for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival gets you:

— One-day admission to the Austin Reggae Festival **
— Re-entry privileges at the front gate
— A 2017 Austin Reggae Festival t-shirt
— Access to the Chill Zone, which is adjacent to the west side of the stage
— Access to the chairs, shade, cash bar and restrooms in the Chill Zone

The cost of the Austin Reggae Festival VIP Pass is $75 for Friday, April 14; $115 for Saturday, April 15 and $95 for Sunday, April 16.

Buy your VIP Pass today, because quantities of these tickets are very very limited. One of the most important features of the Chill Zone is that it won’t ever become too crowded.

** If you have already purchased a single day ticket (or a Three Day Wristband) and you want to upgrade to a VIP Pass, then contact us at austinreggaefest at and we can help.

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Lady Shacklin & Jah Souljahs Roots Band Plus Other Standout Acts Added to 2017 Lineup

CLICK HERE to buy advance tickets for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival.

Headliners for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival include Tarrus Riley (Friday, April 14), Jesse Royal (Saturday, April 15) and Akae Beka (Sunday, April 16).

Other dub acts now confirmed for this year’s event include Lady Shacklin & Jah Souljahs Roots Band (Friday, April 14), Micah Shalom & the Babylonians (Saturday, April 15), Az One (Saturday, April 15), Black Slate (Saturday, April 15), Lion Heights (Sunday, April 16), River City All Stars (Sunday, April 16), and Mau Mau Chaplains (Sunday, April 16).

Even more acts announced soon.

The best way to experience all that the Austin Reggae Festival has to offer is to purchase a Three Day Wristband. Priced at only $40 (plus service charge), the Three Day Wristband allows you to enter and leave the park throughout the event.

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Buy Tickets Now For 2017 Austin Reggae Fest!

CLICK HERE to buy advance tickets for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival.

Tickets will also be available on-site April 14-16 at Auditorium Shores. But, buying your tickets online in advance will save you. Also, Three Day Wristbands are only sold in advance. So, CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets now.

Headliners for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival include Jesse Royal, Tarrus Riley and Akae Beka. More acts announced soon.

Prices for 2017 remain the same as they have the last few years — $40 advance (plus service fee) for a Three Day Wristband. The Three Day Wristband lets you enter and leave Auditorium Shores throughout the day. Or, pay $15 advance (plus service fee) for a Single Day Ticket. No re-entry with Single Day Ticket.

All ticket sales are final. Absolutely NO REFUNDS on 2017 Austin Reggae Festival tickets. So, please don’t buy an advance ticket if you aren’t certain that you are going to be at Auditorium Shores April 14-16.

A portion of ticket sales for this event benefits the Central Texas Food Bank. Over the last decade, Austin Reggae Festival attendees have raised more than $1,000,000 to help this incredible charity feed hungry families throughout the Central Texas region.


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FREE FREE FREE Throwback T-Shirt For The First 300 Three-Day Wristband Buyers!

UPDATE: As of February 19, all throwback t-shirts are now sold out for the 2017 event. But, you can still buy Three Day Wristbands and single day tickets by CLICKING HERE. Tickets also available at the gate. If you bought your Three Day Wristband on or before February 19, then we will email you shortly on how to pick up your throwback t-shirt at Auditorium Shores.

Tickets for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival go on sale via this website on the morning of Wed, Feb 1. Be one of the first 300 people to purchase a Three-Day Wristband — and you will receive a coupon that will allow you to pick up a FREE throwback t-shirt (from the 2016, 2015 or 2014 event). Your FREE throwback t-shirt coupon must be redeemed on-site at Auditorium Shores.

Priced at only $40, the Three-Day Wristband is your best value for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival. In addition to allowing you to attend all days of the event, this Three-Day Wristband empowers you to leave and return to the park as you please. If you only have a single day ticket, you can NOT re-enter the park after you have departed (unless rain leads to a park evacuation).

We expect that the first 300 Three-Day Wristbands will sell out quickly, so please mark your calendar for Wed, Feb 1. Also, remember that a portion of ticket sales for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival benefits the Central Texas Food Bank. Over the last decade, world music lovers have contributed more than $1,000,000 to this incredible charity via the Austin Reggae Festival.

UPDATE: As of Tuesday, February 14, all throwback t-shirts are now sold out.

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2017 Austin Reggae Fest Headliners Include Jesse Royal, Tarrus Riley and Akae Beka

Headliners for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival include Jesse RoyalTarrus Riley and Akae Beka.

Jesse Royal began his career with and was mentored by the late Fatis Burrell, who also produced Royal’s first two releases, “Singing the Blues” and “Long Days and Short Nights” in 2010. He has toured extensively in Jamaica as well as Europe and the United States, before releasing his first major work produced by his friend Walshy Fire in 2014. In 2015, Vogue Magazine listed Royal as part of a greater ongoing “Reggae Revival” movement happening in Jamaica and the rest of the world, re-vitalizing the genre of roots reggae.

Tarrus Riley released his debut album”Challenges” in 2004. He tours Europe once each year, performing on the major reggae festivals such as Reggae Sumfest 2010, the 2011 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and Roskilde Festival 2011 in Denmark, Betty Wright and Friends in concert in Jamaica, and the Palmyra Foundation’s Fundraising event. Riley also headlined the Hennessey Artistry show in Barbados in December 2011.  More recently, he was featured on Major Lazer’s song “Powerful” from the album “Peace Is the Mission” along with Ellie Goulding.

Akae Beka is the relatively new project featuring Vaughn Benjamin and other former members of Midnite, the legendary roots band that hailed from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Akae Beka’s first performance took place in Denver on July 17, 2015 at a concert to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day. According to Benjamin, the name for the new project came from two words found in the Book of Enoch, cited in chapter 68, verse 20-24. Recent releases from this group include “Portals,” “Homage To The Land,” and “Livicated.”

Stay tuned to this website for exact day and time of these headliner slots, as well as other performers for April 2017 at Auditorium Shores.

Tickets for the 2017 Austin Reggae Festival go on sale via this website on the morning of Wednesday, February 1.

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