Summer Jam 2015 – Preview

SummerFest2015You can always easily find yourself in the middle of a sweet BBQ on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Austin, TX, but if you look tad harder you might find one that also features local DJs providing top-quality house/techno music. If your idea of a Saturday well spent consists of listening to local Austin DJs, dancing and eating BBQ then this might be your lucky break. Get down with some beats and get dirty with some BBQ at this year’s Summer Jam at Lake Austin this coming Saturday.

So what sets this apart from a lot of other electronic music events in Austin you ask? Well for one it takes place during the day. Secondly the event is outdoors where you can bask in the sun as well as take a dip in water only a few feet away. And last but not least, instead of being hosted in a closed setting, say like a club or basement for example, it’s out in the open which makes for a complete change of scenery as to what most people expect when they think of DJs and dancing.

“Everyone loves to be outdoors in Austin during the Spring and Summer time, and that’s what makes this event so fun and special,” said one of the event organizers and Steady Rhythm Recordings label owner John Reyes. “Everyone is in a great mood and the music makes it even better!”


Flyer for the very first Summer Jam in 2009. The only time the event was held at Zilker Park.

This Saturday will mark the 7th year the event has been in effect. The idea stemmed from a collective effort put together in 2009 by John Reyes (aka Audio Mekanic/Steady Rhythm Recordings), Jon (E)ric (UFunktion), and Rex Bruton (aka Steel Grooves, Capital Techno record label owner) but have since acquired the help of longtime friends Bryan Castellanos (DJ Data) and JDubz. All residents of Austin and all of which will be laying down one-hour sets of their own respective style. For those of you that want a little taste of what their sounds are like you can check out the Facebook Event Page for links to some of their sets.

At this point you probably want some pointers, the biggest tip for new attendees: DO NOT BRING GLASS BOTTLES! They aren’t allowed in the park. Did I forget to mention this was BYOB? Reyes said that if you’re bringing along beverages, you should bring cans only. Aside from that bring along some swimwear and a pair of happy feet and you’re all set!


2nd Annual Summer Jam Flyer from 2010. Held at Emma Long Park where its been since.

The event itself is free but it’ll cost you $10 per car to get in. So try cramming as many friends into your hooptie as you can and get down there. Also, get there early! The park will fill up quickly and they will not let you in once they’ve reached capacity.

“The music starts at 1pm and you should be in the park by 3pm otherwise you will be waiting at the gate for someone else to leave so they can let you in,” said Reyes. “One in, one out.”

For more detailed information you can visit the Facebook Event Page.

What: Summer Jam 2015
When: 1-9pm, Saturday, May 2, 2015
Where: Emma Long Park, 1600 City Park Road 78730 Austin, TX
Who: You, dancing.


Lee Fields and The Expressions – The Parish, Austin TX (4/26/15)


What a beautiful, soulful and emotional Sunday night it was in Austin. I’m still stuck somewhere in between the mellow, down-tempo lovers-only jams and the high-energy dance tracks full of tempestuous screams Lee Fields kept letting out that sent wave after wave of chills over my body. The man’s been in this business for 43 years now and he’s still got it: the voice, the moves, the style and the uncanny ability to awaken emotions that you thought were long-gone.


Photo: Amanda M. Casarez

From the moment his feet touched the stage until the end of the show your eyes couldn’t look away. Your senses fell into a trance while he swerved in and around your head taking you deeper into his world of love and loss.

While he played a very well balanced mix of old and new hits, there were some songs that just stood out from the rest. One such track was Wish You Were Here, a song in remembrance of his mother. Taking the time to talk to the audience he said he knows she’s very much alive in another place, saying that he believes life doesn’t end with our temporary stay here on earth but rather that it moves onto another plane. Believing that she can still hear him sing he did so with every fiber of his soul, pouring his heart out onto the stage.

I’m sure we’ve heard it all before, the tale of love lost, the story of losing and missing the one you just can’t go on living life without. Lee Fields’ song-writing is no different, it was in these ballads that you could clearly see the pain and agony in his eyes that instantly created a knot in your throat. I wasn’t too sure if it was just sweat from the night’s gyrations or actual tears streaming down his face, but while he performed Don’t Leave Me This Way I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the crowd that shed a tear of their own.

While these two songs were probably the most somber of the entire set he quickly changed moods and got everyone dancing again. In the blink of an eye feelings went from complete heartbreak to a cascade of beatitude. The Expressions started playing that upbeat feel-good music while Mr. Fields got down with some fancy footwork. Everyone in the crowd followed suit and started dancing. You could sense an overwhelming feeling of euphoria in the air.

In the end, after all was said and done, he ultimately left a little piece of himself on stage at The Parish for this special Sunday night sermon. Pieces that the audience took with themselves and locked in their hearts. You automatically felt a little more love in your soul, you were more in tune with your feelings and your overall cool-level boosted up 100 times solely because you were in his presence. We’ve got nothing but love for this special individual and until we see you again, may you spread the word of what it truly means to live. Preach on Lee Fields.

-Edward Sias