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Monday, April 19, 2010

Live music review: Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars close Austin Reggae Fest

Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars performed West-African flavored reggae Sunday evening to close the Austin Reggae Festival after a torrential downpour Saturday night in Austin. The  Auditorium Shores concert grounds was in poor shape Sunday morning despite storm clouds moving out of the Austin area late Saturday.
City Parks officials inspected the grounds carefully Sunday, ordering mulch to be hauled in to absorb standing water and determine when gates at the annual reggae festival would open. 
Lisa Goddard and Kerri Qunell of the Capital Area Food Bank kept concert goers informed via Twitter, Facebook and text messaging early Sunday morning until gates officially opened at approximately 2p.m. Sunday.
 The conditions meant a slow start to the festivities and smaller crowds than expected due to the late start and the condition of the grounds which ended up being quite favorable. Crowds swelled to near normal levels later in the day as fans realized rain was not going to threaten the festivities.
Sierra Leone's high energy performance, as well as some timely drying weather conditions, salvaged a soggy festival this year.
Don Chani led off the show with a huge contingent of artists on stage.  When Don Chani began their set, temporary yellow tape put up by the City of Austin Parks Department to protect the saturated areas of the ground in front of the stage was still hanging, guarded by approximately a half dozen police officers. 
As the music began to get going in earnest, authorities allowed fans to move forward towards the stage, past the tape. Kudos to the Parks Department for properly assessing the situation and ensuring enough mulch was delivered and placed on sensitive areas before allowing the concert to proceed. The "Dillo Dirt" fiasco from Austin City Limits Music Festival is fresh in Austin fans' minds. Reports reminded fans that none of the reclaimed sewage that oozed out of Zilker park last October would be present at Auditorium Shores. Fans can be thankful that kind of stinky mess was not present.


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