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KTRU outdoor show highlights local acts

By Sophie Newman     4/18/16 10:22pm

In celebration of the 25th annual KTRU Outdoor Show this Saturday, the Rice University central quad between the Rice Memorial Center and Herring Hall will be transformed into a festival of live music, beer and food.

The KTRU Outdoor Show is an annual all-day music fest that features both n’ational and local acts. In recent years, KTRU has invited a variety of artists, from Houston-based rapper Fat Tony, to electronic and visual artist FLCON FCKER, to the student Battle of the Bands’ winner Steve Cox’s Beard.

This year’s event coordinators Heather Wright, Emily Foxman, Michael Saucedo and Jake Levens said they made a conscious decision to keep the lineup local in light of budgeting and student interest needs.

“I think the main way our process changed this year was figuring out what kind of effort we don’t want to make,” Levens, a Will Rice College senior, said. “Last year, we put in a ton of effort to get trying to get national acts and people didn’t know them enough.”

“It’s cool to be able to support local bands,” Foxman, a Lovett College sophomore, said. “It’s a lot easier and a lot more exciting.”

While the coordinators take into consideration students’ proclivities when planning the event, budgeting constraints put considerable limits on their booking possibilities.

“I think Chance the Rapper would be the ideal artist to have at Rice, but we just don’t have the money to get him,” Levens said. “I think we would think more about booking Rice-specific acts if we had the money to do it.”

While the coordinators are conscious of what kind of music will draw students’ attention, they also believe that exposing students to music that is outside of their normal listening repertoire is also a goal of the event.

“A part of KTRU is to expose Rice students to something they wouldn’t already listen to,” Wright, a Lovett sophomore, said. “We aren’t afraid to book people who aren’t mainstream.”

This year’s headliner, Jessy Lanza, who Levens describes as “an up and coming electro-pop R&B princess,” is the only non-local act, but the coordinators expect she will generate a lot of student interest.

“She’s definitely the biggest artist we have,” Levens said. “She still isn’t huge in general, but there’s definitely a lot of hype for her right now.”

In addition to Lanza, coordinators expect that Siddiq, a Houston-born rapper who has previously DJed for a Beats and Beer event, will merit attention as an up-and-coming artist.

“Last week I was looking on a music website, and the top two things were a Jessy Lanza interview and right below it was the new song by Siddiq,” Levens said. “I was shocked to see his name online.”

“He’s definitely underrated, so I’m excited to see how everyone reacts,” Wright said.

Other artists will include DEF, Say Girl Say, Leach, Rose Ette and Rice's Battle of the Bands winner Steve Cox’s Beard.

Despite this year’s minor changes in lineup, the logistics of the event will remain the same. Acts are scheduled from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and a variety of food trucks will stop by throughout the day. Willy’s Pub will also sponsor a beer garden for those of age.

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