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Musicians bring Texas flair to Waco's Oktoberfest

Oct. 19, 2000

By NAT NEALEIGH

Reporter

Students enjoying the new fall break may find more to do in town than drive out of it this weekend. Oktoberfest, a four-band concert presented by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, will open at 7 p.m. on Oct. 21.

Located downtown in the parking lot of River Square Center near Cricket's and Ninfa's restaurants, the concert will feature Ruthie Foster, Phil Pritchett, Reckless Kelly and Joe Ely.

Formerly known as Bluesfest, the annual citywide concert is now in its sixth year, but has undergone a name change to attract a wider audience.

'We decided to change the name to allow a broader range of music talent to come in and just open up the door for a music event that would encompass everyone,' said Eric Abercrombie, director of communications and publications for the Chamber of Commerce.

'Although blues music is great it doesn't really encompass a broad range of music talent ... [The new name] will allow us in the future to have whatever kind of music we want.'

This year's style, Abercrombie said, would probably be called Texas music, but he said he doesn't think that anyone should feel excluded.

'Even if you're not from Texas you're going to enjoy the type of music that's going to be played,' Abercrombie said. 'There's going to be dancing, but you don't have to pretend that you can dance.'

Foster grew up in north Texas and has produced two CD's. She is a graduate of McLennan Community College and will be returning to Waco for Oktoberfest.

Pritchett, a Dallas Native and Southwestern University graduate, has just released his fourth CD and will soon be moving to Nashville to further his career.

His appearance at Oktoberfest will be the last stop on his final Texas tour.

Reckless Kelly, a 5-member band based out of Austin, will soon release its third CD, The Day. The band recently won its second Austin Music Award for Best Roots Rock.

Ely, a native of west Texas, has produced 18 CD's in his 23-year career and has been featured in several movie soundtracks, including Hope Floats and The Horse Whisperer.

A Baylor graduate himself, Abercrombie said he knows what it's like to be a student in Waco.

'What we're really trying to show is that you don't have to leave Waco to go to Austin or Dallas to have a good time,' Abercrombie said. 'We're really trying to show that there is something awesome to do right here.'

Abercrombie also said he believes that everybody would enjoy the concert regardless of age.

'It's more than just a student event ... It's music, it's a good time, it's for everybody young and old,' Abercrombie said.

Information on the artists can be found at the Oktoberfest Web site at http://www.oktoberfestwaco.com.

Oktoberfest tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at the gate or by calling (254) 752-9797.