Legendary independent jam band, String Cheese Incident, has been announced as the headliner for the inaugural Waterloo Music Festival in Austin. The band will headline all three nights between Sept. 7-9 and kick off what Austin promoters hope to be a revival of Live Music Capital’s independent spirit.
“What you’ve seen with a number of jam bands is a rebirth in the last 15 years. They’ve become part of the conversation with younger people as well. That’s something that we are really excited about,” says Waterloo Music Festival co-founder Briggs Mitchell. “The String Cheese Incident is relentless in their pursuit of multi-genre, improvisational music. In our mind, they are representative of what we want to do at the festival.”
In addition to the three nights of String Cheese Incident, other confirmed acts for the inaugural festival include The Motet, Railroad Earth, Tauk, BoomBox, Marco Benevento, and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (JRAD), which will mark the group’s first-ever Texas show.
In the weeks to come, the three-day event will announce additional artists from blues, rock, funk, bluegrass, folk, and more genres. Organizers plan to host around 50 artists, many locally based in Austin.
“We want to make sure that what are doing is helpful and healthy for our local music economy, not just money going out on tour buses,” says Steven Sternschein, head of Heard Presents which is putting on the event alongside fellow independent promoters Havin’ A Ball Productions.
Waterloo will take place at Carson Creek Ranch located on the Colorado River and 10 minutes from Downtown Austin. The scenic ranch has over 60 acres of campgrounds filled with pecan trees and features an amphitheater that backs up to the banks of the river.
The location will give Austin locals the opportunity to head to the grounds for the day, as well as allow attendees the choice to camp out by the river. Festivalgoers can opt for tent only camping, vehicle camping, or upgrade to glamping experience or RV packages.
The jam band festival that looks to attract around 10,000 attendees per day gets its title from the original name for the city of Austin. Organizers say they want to honor the roots of the city by also planting their flag on the banks of the Colorado River and expanding from there.
“Our goal is to create a very comfortable experience for everyone of the guests. Slogging through a muddy field with 20,000 people is more of a pain in the butt than 10,000 people. We want people to relax and feel comfortable,” Sternschein says, adding “We’re hoping to bring many different groups of people together under this banner that we’ve planted on the Colorado River.”
“We love the name Waterloo because it pays tribute to that soul and the roots of Austin,” says Mitchell. “There’s a dialogue between the jam community and the city of Austin and the legacy of live music here.”
Tickets for Waterloo Music Festival go on sale Friday (May 11) at 10 a.m., with a limited number of $99 3-day GA passes (general onsale will be $119), $199 3-day VIP passes, and camping packages starting at $70 (in addition to festival admission). Car camping is available for an additional $49 camping vehicle pass. Additional tickets will be released in the coming weeks. See waterloofest.com for tickets and more information.