Each Summer, Ithaca Reggae Fest delivers a slice of Caribbean culture to New York, celebrating reggae music, Caribbean cuisine, and vibrant art. Renowned for its relaxed, family-oriented atmosphere, the festival sets the perfect summer scene, spreading out over Ithaca’s Stewart Park and shimmering Cayuga Lake.

The festival draws fans from across the Northeast and gives back to the community, thanks to the tireless efforts of its volunteer organizers. Staying true to its roots, the festival continues to infuse a strong community vibe with global reggae beats.

Origins and Mission

Established in 2017, Reggae Fest fosters a conscious celebration of the region’s reggae community and its rich history. The festival promotes plastic-free initiatives, encouraging attendees to use reusable containers and offering biodegradable alternatives. It aims to protect Cayuga Lake by raising funds and awareness for environmental organizations like Discover Cayuga Lake, tackling water resource issues while celebrating the vibrant facets of the community. Through its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, Reggae Fest ensures a positive impact on the local ecosystem and the greater Ithaca community.

The Venue: Stewart Park

With its sprawling green space and gorgeous waterside location, Stewart Park turns into a reggae playground come festival time. Easily accessible from downtown Ithaca, the park offers ample free parking and public transportation options. Its unparalleled, amphitheater-like natural setting will have you feeling irie in no time!

On Stage

Local and international reggae talents share the stage, offering a diverse mix of roots reggae, dancehall, ska, and reggae fusion. Headliners have included international superstars Sly & Robbie, dub legend Scientist, and emerging artists and DJs from across New York, guaranteeing a full spectrum of reggae entertainment. For all the scoop on the latest edition of Reggaefest, visit their official website.

Beyond the Music

Visitors can indulge in authentic Caribbean cuisine or choose from many global and vegetarian offerings. Food trucks and vendors at the festival ensure that a delicious variety is just steps away, including vegan and gluten-free options. 

Handmade crafts, clothing, and art abound in the festival’s marketplace, creating a unique shopping experience for all things reggae! When not grooving to reggae rhythms, attendees can enjoy impromptu jams, DJ sets, yoga sessions, dance workshops, skateboarding, and many kid-centric crafts and fun in the Youth Village. 

Reggaefest offers a family-friendly environment where kids get in free. The festival features a variety of kid-friendly activities, including art and science projects, hula-hooping contests, games, and more, creating a fun and engaging atmosphere for all ages!

The Ithaca Reggae Festival also features an exciting freestyle skateboarding competition, attracting big names in the skateboarding world. This high-energy event takes place in the Skateboard Village, where top skateboarders showcase their skills and creativity. It’s a thrilling addition to the festival, combining reggae beats with the dynamic culture of skateboarding.

Accessibility for All

Designed with inclusivity in mind, the festival grounds support wheelchair access with ramps and special parking areas. Free shuttles with wheelchair accommodation and dedicated volunteers are also on standby for those in need. The vibe of diversity extends to the services offered, such as ASL interpretation and a quiet retreat on-site for those with sensory sensitivities.

Tickets and Stays

Reggaefest’s affordability is evident in its ticket prices, starting at $25 for a day pass. Advanced online purchase is recommended to avoid lines at the gates. VIP experiences are also on offer for those wanting a more personalized experience. 

Ithaca provides a wealth of lodging options, from historic hotels to affordable motels and Airbnbs, catering to every preference and budget, so you’ll have plenty to choose from if you’re visiting from out of town.

Ithaca Reggae Fest brings together a diverse crowd to celebrate the joy of music, Caribbean culture, and art. With its rich lineup and inclusive atmosphere, the festival is perfect for enjoying great tunes and learning more about the vibrant traditions that shape reggae music.