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Urban Music Festival

THU., APRIL 6, 2006

Austin needs another music festival about as much as Dallas needs another chain restaurant; as much as Houston needs another refinery; as much as San Antonio needs another pro sports arena. We sure don’t need another music festival, but that doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t support one. Austinites are huge chumps for anyone with the wherewithal to rent some park space and erect some stage scaffolding. It doesn’t matter that the headlining act is the musical equivalent of Gary Coleman/Danny Bonaduce/Jamie Farr and the openers sideline in Chapman Motor ads; it’s really more about giving the cultural hoi polloi a few hundred square yards of dusty terra to work their stuff – ideally shirtless or halter-topped, glistening with a bronze patina of sweat, sunblock, and pulverized caliche; clutching the warm, backwash remains of a light beer, and ripping off a deafening two-finger whistle whenever the guitarist goes into one of those masturbatory diddly-diddly riffs. Who says the only talent is on the stage? Still, if you’re one of those rare Austinites who hasn’t experienced the sublime catharsis of music fandom, maybe Austin hasn’t been playing your tune. This weekend the tune will get a little funkier – not just because the Texas Relays will be bringing more than 40,000 African-Americans to Austin from all across the state and nation, but because in conjunction with them, Austin will host its first-ever Urban Music Festival, an outdoor concert at Auditorium Shores featuring Chaka Khan, Ray Parker Jr., Michael Henderson, members of Parliament Funkadelic and the Brothers Johnson, rapper/singer/actor/BET host Ray J, and comedian Joe Torry, as well as local artists like Blue Mist, Bavu Blakes, Les and the Funk Mob, Nook, and All U Need. Rest assured that if the Relays don’t keep you busy, the UMF will.

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