Kidzapalooza … unmasking rock festival intruders

Hey! You Got Kids’ Music in My Huge Rock Festival!
By Bill Childs, HF Contributing Writer

Beware, oh people-who-go-to- huge-rock-festivals. There’s an intruder. And, if you’re paying attention to where you’re reading this (and you look like you are), you’ll guess who it is … Kids’ musicians! (Cue the piercing violin notes a la Psycho.)

Yes, friends, at least two huge rock festivals – Chicago’s Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Festival (ACL) – have made a real commitment to music for children, bringing in kid-friendly bands from all over the country. While these bands are far from a complete list of up-and-comers in family-friendly music, they do represent a pretty amazing lineup of artists. Having lived in Austin for several years in the ‘90s, we jumped at the chance to check out ACL’s kids’ stage – cleverly denominated “Austin Kiddie Limits” (AKL) (Lollapalooza’s equivalent is “Kidzapalooza”).

And we weren’t disappointed, even though we only attended on one of the three days, and even though Austin in September boasts temperatures of, oh, I don’t know, 245 degrees. To follow you’ll find a quick tour of who we saw.


First up was The BummKinn Band, a country band for kids. They’re based in California, but worry not: they’ve got enough Texas in them to make you forget they’re from anywhere near 90210. Their first record, Starry Skies and Lullabies, was charming if, I thought, not quite consistent enough to be great. Live, they played a lot of their new songs (from a still-in-progress CD), and the new work promises to get up to that “great” place, with a bit more rock surrounding the country nougat center. Their stage show was fun and cute, with humor evoking the skits from the Grand Ol’ Opry.

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