by Kevin Horton
The 2018 Austin Reggae Festival was a celebration of diversity, tolerance and giving back to the community. Once again, Auditorium Shores served as the perfect outdoor venue to enjoy great food, arts, and live music. Love and respect were common themes found throughout the three-day event. The festival organizers demonstrated these values effectively by donating a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. In fact, over the last decade the festival has generated over $1,000,000 to help fight back against hunger. This strong focus on community paired with great weather helped to foster a mellow environment for attendees to relax and fully appreciate reggae music and culture.
Sister Nancy, Kabaka Pyramid & the Bebble Rockers, Nattali Rize, Collie Buddz, and many others delivered exceptional performances. One of the most influential reggae groups of our time, Black Uhuru headlined on Saturday night. Led by their founder Derrick “Duckie” Simpson, they brought a contagious positive energy to the stage that spilled over into the crowd. As the festival was drawing to an end on Sunday night, headliners The Wailers took the stage. Steered by the famed bassist Aston “Familyman” Barrett, this legendary band recorded and toured with Bob Marley from 1973-1980. The Wailers captivated the audience with their creative, timeless, and distinctive music. As the crowd sang along to every word, a common thread was woven amongst strangers and friends alike. Check out our full photo gallery on Austin 101
Vendor stalls and local food trucks lined the outskirts of the crowd amongst the trees, creating an intriguing marketplace to explore. The vendors offered a wide variety of keepsakes, authentic Jamaican garments and countless Bob Marley tshirts & memorabilia. The lineup featured world-renowned artists and blossoming musicians, each with their own respective approach to reggae. Locals Hail Marley (a 5 peice tribute band) was a highlight as well as local reggae DJ- DJRJ.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of the festival, and it is safe to say that they have successfully found “What unity in the community sounds like.” More info on the fest Austin Reggae Fest