Very rarely do fans actually get to decide what bands are booked for a festival. In that respect, the Austin Reggae Festival, taking place Friday-Sunday, April 15-17 at Auditorium Shores, was pretty unique this year.
For the first time, festival fans were able to vote for which bands and performers they wanted to see in the lineup. Voting took place online earlier this year and is now closed, and the official lineup has been announced. Fan voting has led to a varied lineup – you can expect to see local favorites like Mau Mau Chaplains, Don Chani, Atash, and The Contrabandits; classic reggae artists like Black Slate, and The Skatalites; tribute bands like Hail Marley; roots rock reggae like Pentateuch; and even country/reggae fusion artists like Voodoo Possum, plus many others.
The biggest name this year is definitely Bunny Wailer, who is widely regarded as a musical legend. Wailer was a founding member of the seminal reggae band The Wailers, which also included Peter Tosh and Bob Marley. Plus, he’s got more than 30 albums under his belt, including three that earned him Grammys for “Best Reggae Album” in 1991, 1995 and 1997.
The festival also includes Charlie’s Dub Corner, an annual rub-a-dub session and party that features some of the best reggae, dub, and Jamaican music specialists and DJs playing today. See austinreggaefest.com for ticket info.