Austin’s Wildfire Festival and 3 Months of Reggae

185037-250Music festival season is fast approaching and our site is already starting to fill up with tickets to festivals all around the country.

One of the first big events of the season is, of course, SXSW in Austin, Texas. Originally started in 1987 as a way to showcase independent music, SXSW has turned into one of the biggest interactive media events in the country, complete with corporate-sponsored showcases featuring big name acts, high-tech trade shows and media startup conferences. Attendance has sky-rocketed from 700 attendees in its first year, to over 40,000 attendees today. As a result, being able to see bands has become a bit of a challenge for the average music fan.

That’s why we’re excited to be ticketing a real “independent” festival in Austin that’s focused on a genre of music that we deeply love here at Brown Paper Tickets: reggae! Our music doer Billy Geoghegan has been playing in reggae and ska bands for years and you’ll often hear a reggae beat coming out of the computer speakers of many of our employees’ desks.

So, when we see that we’re ticketing a festival like the 4th Annual Wildfire Reggae and Arts Festival, we naturally want to spread the word and support it in any way we can. It’s going on during SXSW, so if you’re in town for “South By” and want to experience some high quality grooves in a beautiful setting, then Wildfire is for you!

Now in its fourth year, the Wildfire Reggae and Arts Festival will take place at The Music Ranch from Thursday, March 7 to Saturday, March 9 and will spotlight more than 30 bands offering a cross-section of the reggae genre, from ska to rocksteady to roots, dub and beyond. Past headliners have included Collie Buddz, Lynval Golding (of The Specials), HR (of Bad Brains), Common Kings, Contra Coup and Josh Heinrichs. This year offers another stellar lineup: Don Carlos (of Black Uhuru fame), Gyptian, Marlon Asher and the Farmers, The Expanders, Mike Love, Alex Marley, a large selection of DJ’s and more. They expect over 4,000 attendees this year and there will also be camping in a beautiful 80-acre oak tree forest. You can pick up daily passes, three-day passes or the coveted VIP passes right over here.


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Do the Ska – Coast to Coast!

Ska music a blend of Caribbean mento and calypso with the American r&b and jazz that Jamaicans were hearing from New Orleans radio stations, emerged in the late 50s and is considered to be the grandfather of reggae music. It established the walking bass line and accented upbeat that would become the foundation of the reggae beat but unlike the laid-back vibe of reggae, ska was high energy dance music. This was indicative of the celebratory feeling pulsing through the Jamaican populous. Jamaica received its independence from the UK in 1962 and the upbeat ska sound became the soundtrack for independent Jamaica.

Many of reggae’s stars got their start in ska. Bob Marley & the Wailers started out as a ska group. Jimmy Cliff, one of the first Jamaican singers to reach an international audience was a popular ska singer, even showcasing the music at the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York City. But, there’s one group that provided the music to many of the best known ska hits: The Skatalites. The original lineup of the band broke up in 1965 but they reformed in 1983 due to renewed interest in ska music and have been touring ever since. Only two of the original Skatalites are still playing with the band, vocalist Doreen Shaffer and saxophonist Lester Sterling. Sadly, original drummer Lloyd Knibb just passed away on May 12, 2011 but the new band keeps the spirit of the original ska sound alive.
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