Event Profile: Urban Music Fest

Black History Month

Event Profile: Urban Music Fest

Posted by on Feb 1, 2021

– Miles Bloxson, KUTX Host

Urban Music Fest started in 2006, as an idea of three businessmen. Homer Hill the founder of Catfish Station a family-owned business and now known as Mr. Catfish, Donnie Little a former quarterback of the University of Texas, and  Donnell Creech the owner and founder of Soulciti a website, which is dedicated to covering Black news, arts, and culture in Austin.

The concept came about after a fire took place in 2005 at one of Austin’s beloved black-owned night club’s Midtown Live. “One evening, Midtown Live which is primarily a club, but they also had a kitchen, and supposedly the kitchen caught on fire. So I guess when they called 911, it was overheard on different dispatches between the police department, the fire department, people were saying stuff like burn baby, burn, you know, racial epithets. And so I guess they didn’t realize their intercoms were on and it created a big outcry from the community. Midtown was a very popular place and that was the impetus for the African-American Quality of Life initiative,” Hill said.

Homer Hill

This led to The African American Quality of Life Initiative which was a collaboration between the City community leaders, neighborhoods, and business owners to address the disparities in the treatment of the African American Community.

The City Demographer did a study  that “confirmed African Americans trailed other ethnic groups in many socio-economic areas.” City staff, along with an outside consulting firm called Group Solutions and community leaders identified 56 initiatives in six categories that would improve African American quality of life in  Austin. 

Arts, Culture & Entertainment was one of the six and so the trio got together and presented their idea to the city and they gained the support they needed to make the Urban Music Fest happen.

The festival brings in 7,000 to 12,000 attendees and is held at Auditorium shores.  Urban Music Fest has had performers such as Boyz 2 Men, Frankie Beverly and Maze, En Vogue, Charlie Wilson, The Ohio Players, Brandy and so many more. They also work closely with the community and have created the Soul Tree Collective Young Band Project, which fosters young Musicians in Travis and Williamson County.

Even though they weren’t able to host the festival last year because of the pandemic, Urban Music Fest is still thriving.  As for the future, Homer hopes,For the community to start embracing the whole community. To become explorers into other cultures, especially African-American culture and to derive the benefits from it.”   

 

 

The Urban Music Fest & Homer Hill

Pause/Play

The Urban Music Fest & Homer Hill

Posted by on Dec 22, 2020

In the latest episode of Pause/Play Homer Hill tells the story of the Urban Music Fest and how it’s been hit hard by the pandemic. You’ll also learn the history of the festival, and hear the challenges Homer has faced in his thirty plus years as a Black Business owner in Austin, Texas.

Listen to this episode of Pause/Play

Urban Music Fest
Mr. Catfish
The City of Austin’s Virtual New Year’s Eve

Urban Music Festival 2020

Check out Andrew Weber’s reporting on Venue Funding in Austin

Pause Play: The Venues

Pause/Play

Pause Play: The Venues

Posted by on Oct 20, 2020

In this episode, you’ll hear from the owners of two Austin venues. Brodie Elkins tells the story of Scratchouse which closed due to the pandemic. Then Maggie Lea and Tamara Hoover talk about how they’ve kept their venue, Cheer Up Charlies, afloat, and explain what it’s been like to get ready to reopen.

Listen on The Apple Podcasts App, Spotify

Follow Cheer Up Charlies: Instagram and Twitter

Resources:

Music Venue Alliance Austin

Red River Cultural District

National Independent Venue Alliance

Amplified Sound Coalition

Austin Texas Musicians

Pause/Play: Episode 3

Introducing Pause/Play from KUT & KUTX

Pause/Play

Introducing Pause/Play from KUT & KUTX

Posted by on Sep 14, 2020

What happens to the live music capital of the world, when there’s no live music? Hosts Elizabeth McQueen and Miles Bloxson explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted live music in Austin, Texas, and beyond. In each episode, listeners will hear from people across the spectrum of the live music ecosystem about their personal experiences, survival strategies, adaptations, and what they think is possible on the other side of this pandemic.


EPISODE 10: Music and Activism with Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone
Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone from the Austin hip-hop duo Riders Against the Storm talks about how his experience as a Black musician in the Austin music community led him to create the DAWA Fund and the Black Live Music Fund. He also explains why his music is the reason he is able to continue to serve the community he loves.


EPISODE 9: Why Margin Walker Closed
Graham Williams, the founder of Margin Walker, discusses his journey in the Austin music scene and explains why nine months into the pandemic he decided to close Texas’s largest independent concert promoter for good.


EPISODE 8: Mental Health During the Pandemic
Hear from mental healthcare providers and people in the Austin Music Ecosystem about mental health during the pandemic.


EPISODE 7: The Urban Music Fest and Homer Hill
In the latest episode of Pause/Play Homer Hill tells the story of the Urban Music Fest and how it’s been hit hard by the pandemic. You’ll also learn the history of the festival, and hear the challenges Homer has faced in his thirty plus years as a Black Business owner in Austin, Texas.


EPISODE 6: The Return of Live Music Part 2
Hear from people across the spectrum of the Austin music scene talk about their live music experiences during the pandemic.


EPISODE 5: The Return of Live Music Part 1

Live Music has returned to Austin, even as COVID cases continue to surge in Texas. Hear about three live music experiences from the perspective of a fan, three musicians and a promoter.


EPISODE 4: Jackie Venson and Austin City Limits

Follow Austin musician Jackie Venson as she makes her debut on the iconic Austin City Limit’s TV show. You’ll hear how Jackie has been pivoting during the pandemic, and find out how Austin City Limits has been adapting to taping shows without a live audience.


EPISODE 3: The Venues

In this episode, you’ll hear from the owners two Austin venues. Brodie Elkins tells the story of Scratchouse which closed due to the pandemic. Then Maggie Lea and Tamara Hoover talk about how they’ve kept their venue, Cheer Up Charlies, afloat and explain what it’s been like to get ready to reopen.

Listen on The Apple Podcasts App, Spotify


EPISODE 2: The Musicians

In this episode, you’ll hear tell the pandemic stories of two Austin Musicians — Mobley and Teddythelegacy. You’ll find out how their ability to access financial help has impacted their lives, explore what creative projects the artists have been working on, and hear their perspectives on the uprisings for racial justice.

Check out Mobley’s curated reading list for the Austin Public Library — James Crow, a Songwriters Reader

Listen on The Apple Podcasts AppSpotify


EPISODE 1: The Pause

On March 6th, 2020 the Austin City government canceled SXSW.  That decision had an economic ripple effect throughout the city. It also marked the true beginning of the COVID-19 crisis for Austin. In this episode, hosts Miles Bloxson and Elizabeth McQueen explore why Austin calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World.  They’ll look at the effect that the cancellation of SXSW and the subsequent shut down of the bars had on Austin through the experiences of some of the musicians, venue owners, venue staff, and music non-profits who make up this live music ecosystem.

Listen on The Apple Podcasts App, Spotify


Subscribe to Pause/Play on Apple PodcastsSpotifyNPROne or wherever you get your podcasts, and listen to (and watch) the trailer for Pause/Play below:

Pause/Play Host Bios:

photo by Martin Do Nascimento

Elizabeth McQueen:

Elizabeth McQueen is an audio producer and podcast host at KUTX 98.9, Austin’s NPR music station. McQueen is also the host of the podcast This Song,” as well as the producer for The Breaks,” a hip-hop podcast. Prior to a career in public radio and podcasting, McQueen was a professional musician who started and played for the band,“Elizabeth McQueen and the Firebrands,” and a member of the legendary Western Swing band, “Asleep at the Wheel.”  

 

photo by Gabriel C. Pérez

Miles Bloxson:

Miles Bloxson is an on-air talent and podcast producer/host for KUT 90.5 & KUTX 98.9.  The Austin,Texas native and University of Texas graduate has a passion for technology, music and pop culture.  She has interviewed such Hollywood stars as Halle Berry, Samuel L. Jackson, Kristin Chenoweth, Morgan Freeman, Cee-Lo Green, Forest Whitaker, Robert Townsend and many more. She is the host and creator of her very own podcast and lifestyle brand Miles To Mogul.

Say Their Names

The Breaks

Say Their Names

Posted by on Jun 1, 2020

This week on The Breaks, Fresh and Confucius talk about the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Mike Ramos in Austin and the resulting protests. They touch on their experiences as black men in America, their frustration with systemic racism and the need for sustained solidarity from society at large, not just during times of tragedy.

Listen to this episode of The Breaks

 

Listen on The Apple Podcasts App, Spotify or Stitcher

 

The Breaks are on every Saturday 10pm-1am on KUTX 98.9.
You can hear the latest full broadcast of The Breaks Saturday night show.