On January 2, 2013, KUTX, now owned by The University of Texas, began to pump out 29,000 watts of what they dub “The Austin Music Experience.”
98.9 FM had gone through numerous musical reformats before finally settling on a winning formula for a musically diverse city like Austin. That’s no small task for a public radio station in the Live Music Capital of the World, with competing stations offering the usual mix of pop, Spanish, and country programming.
But a diverse musical playlist isn’t enough to stand out in Austin, so KUTX stepped up their game and started offering unique and free concert events that highlight our musical culture. MapJam debuted in 2013 with the goal of highlighting local bands and playing in the hidden musical spaces that are featured in KUTX’s multimedia web project, known as Austin Music Map.
Austin Music Map is a musical cartographers dream. It allows anyone to upload musical content and tag the live venue it is associated with. Think of an interactive Google Maps that allows people to upload the music they hear at the Elephant Room or at a pop-up concert at Hops & Grain. In 2013, the website was nominated for a Webby in the music category, which was a huge honor for KUTX.
MapJam took some of the unique locales that the Austin Music Map identified and created a music festival around them. Putting together the programming for the event is no easy task. “When programming any of our Austin Music Map events, we look at a couple different things. We try to put together a really diverse bill representing several genres, and we want to have an emphasis on musical discovery,” said Haley Howle, MapJam and KUTX producer.
The 2nd annual MapJam, held in early January, was such a success they decided to extend the fun into Summer 2014.
“MapJam 2014 was such a success that we asked ‘Why should the East Side have all the fun?'” said Haley Howle. So the first Summer Jam will be held this Saturday, June 21st, in one of Austin’s most iconic neighborhoods in the 78704, at a rapidly emerging music venue that happens to brew their own beer and make great pizza, the ABGB. The event is free with no admission fee.
Summer Jam is set to be a scaled down version of MapJam with only one venue playing host, but the music is going to be just as diverse. “Our goal is to shed light on music being played all over town that breaks the mold and does something a little different. We’re really excited about having Cajun, Latin and Psych Dub all on the same bill!” mentioned Haley.
The Summer Jam 2014 lineup this weekend will include the following:
- 3-3:45 PM: Gumbo Ce Soir (Cajun)
- 4-4:45 PM: Cilantro Boombox (Afro-Latin), with special guest Gina Chavez
- 5-5:45 PM: Holiday Mountain (Psych-Dub)
Summer Jam will take place inside ABGB with a stage set up right in the midst of all their brewing equipment (I wonder how the bass will affect their fermentation process!). This will indeed be an all-ages event.
The public is encouraged to contribute to the Austin Music Map by tagging their Instagram photos, videos, and SoundCloud audio with #austinmusicmap. So bust out your dancin’ shoes, take a free Uber over to the show, and get ready to drink great craft brew and listen to amazing local music.
Which summer concert event are you looking forward to the most this year?