Austin Reggae Festival
Music and Fun for a Good Cause in Downtown Austin
The Austin Reggae Festival is one of the most popular annual cultural events in the city. The event spans three days and features both local and national reggae artists and bands. Founded in 1994, the festival is traditionally held as closely to April 20th as possible.
Proceeds from the festival often benefit a local charity such as the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. The event is always a hugely successful fundraiser for the charity; in 2011, the event raised $207,484 for the Capital Area Food Bank.
Location: Austin and the Auditorium Shores
Austin is best known for being a quirky city full of Southern charm and a happening music scene. Austin's also home to one of the best (if not the best) restaurant scenes in Texas. If you're looking for the down-home, traditional Texas, head to Dallas or Houston -- if you're looking for something a little more eccentric, you're in the right city.
The Austin Reggae Festival traditionally takes place at Auditorium Shores in downtown Austin. The park does have limited parking, so walk, bike, or carpool with friends to the parking lot at San Antonio and 3rd (a high-rise parking lot with a complimentary shuttle service to the festival).
What to Expect
Expect to see plenty of red, green, and gold in a thousand different combinations. Body paint, live parrots, and massive feather headdresses are all regular sights at the festival. Food and drink is not allowed on the premises, but plenty of local and international food vendors are on hand to feed hungry festival-goers. You'll also find festival souvenirs, T-shirts, and handcrafted wares sold by local artisans.
The 2012 Festival
The 2012 festival will start at 3:00 pm on Friday, April 20. The festival opens at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22. The park closes every night at 10:00 pm.
While dogs were once welcomed at the Austin Reggae Festival, they are no longer allowed at the event.
Unlike many other music festivals, overnight camping is not permitted at the event. Your best bet would be to find a local vacation rental in the Austin area. There are hundreds of vacation rentals in downtown Austin alone. As an added benefit, vacation rentals tend to be much more economical if you're traveling with a group.
What You Can and Can't Bring
The following items are permitted within the festival grounds:
- Lawn chairs/folding chairs
- A sealed water container (only one per person)
- Hats Cameras
The following items are prohibited and will be confiscated:
- Glass containers
- Beverages besides a sealed water container
- Bota bags
- Large umbrellas (personal rain umbrellas are permitted)
- Silly string
Where to Grab a Bite to Eat Before or After the Festival
You're in luck: Threadgills, one of Austin's favorite eateries, is about a seven minute walk from the festival grounds. Dine on Southern fare that's out of this world, from chicken-fried steak to mouth-watering mashed potatoes. If you'd rather have some Tex-Mex, take another short walk to La Condesa instead. For a Sunday brunch before the festival wraps up, check out nearby Lamberts Downtown BBQ.