Austin Reggae Festival 4/16-4/18
Now that we are in the midst of spring, it’s about time for (what might be my favorite time of the year)… FESTIVAL SEASON! And one of the first major shows on our GO TO list happens to be coming up this weekend (Friday, April 16th- Sunday, April 18th)–the Austin Reggae Festival. Going on its impressive 17th year, the Reggae Fest returns once again to the scenic and highly popular outdoor venue, Auditorium Shores, for (a first-ever) 3 whole days of incredible music, yummy food, arts and crafts, and (without a doubt) premium people-watching.
Headlining this year’s festival will be the Easy Star All Stars (Friday), The Mighty Diamonds (Saturday), and the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars (Sunday):
Since their live debut in 2003, the Easy Star All Stars have become one of the top international reggae acts, specializing in covering popular albums in a unique reggae and dub style. From their first album’s interpretation of Pink Floyd’s classic The Dark Side of the Moon (which was appropriately titled Dub Side of the Moon) to their April 2009 cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band (entitled Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band), the Easy Star All Stars have released a total of four albums over the years and have enjoyed immense success, getting crossover attention from audiences that have not traditionally been familiar with the reggae genre. The band plays their set at 8:30 on Friday evening.
As a Jamaican harmony trio hailing from the same Kingston ghetto of Trenchtown as music legend Bob Marley, The Mighty Diamonds first formed back in 1969 and still remain together today. With their sound as a specific blend of roots reggae with a strong Rastafarian influence, the group has also been characterized by the their close harmony lyrics, high-pitched lead vocals, and “conscious” lyrical content. While best known for their 1976 debut album Right Time and the 1979 release Deeper Roots, The Mighty Diamonds have produced an impressive 40 albums over their lengthy (40+ years) career. Their set begins at 8:30 on Saturday night.
Formed by a group of refugees from Freetown displaced to Guinea during their country’s Civil War, the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars first gained attention through the award-winning documentary film that followed the band for three years as they were relocated between various refugee camps in Guinea. As the film concludes, the group returns to Freetown and recorded their first studio album (Living Like a Refugee) which has been one of the most acclaimed world music debuts of the past few years. With their most recent release in March (Rise & Shine), the group comes to Austin with an impressive list of fans and collaborations along with an outstanding international reputation. The band closes out the festival Sunday evening.
[For a look at the FULL band line-up, click here]
The Reggae Fest not only offers us spectacular music to enjoy, but it also uses the whole opportunity to give back to the Austin community. While advanced tickets going for $12.50 a piece ($15 the day of), portions of the ticket proceeds go to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Last year, funds and food raised at the festival provided meals for more than 690,000 hungry families throughout Central Texas! So this year, let’s help make that even more!
To find out more information or to learn how to get tickets, head over to the Austin Reggae Fest website or the Do512 event page! And if you want a chance to win one of THREE pairs of daily tickets, make sure you click “I Like It!”. Hope to see you there!