San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

December 6th, 2008
RMA awards the unseen happy side of WUMF flop

Emmy Lou HarrisBy HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor

The Roots Music Association (RMA) recently announced the full list of winners of the Roots Music Awards. The RMA, as you may remember, was a partial coordinator of the World United Music Festival/Radio and Music Industry Convention which took place in San Marcos over the weekend of November 16-18.

The World United Music Festival (WUMF), we all know, fizzled into a much discussed local flop, rolling up its tents on a Saturday evening and stealing home halfway into its engagement. Lost in all that furor, is the glowing success of the RMA convention. Apparently, the weekend went off much better for the music insiders than for the music fans.

After the ballyhoo on the Internet with multiple Bluegrass and Folk music online magazines promising a bang-up event, the web is amazingly silent about what happened to the WUMF. At the time, there was a good deal of entertainment-speak tap dancing about the cancellation having to do with the wind, a storm of some sort (it must have been particular to the three acres of ground at the festival because there was no hint of it elsewhere), problems with sub-contractors, miscommunications with the production/staging people and the usual soft shoe about how sincerely sorry everybody was, especially for the families of the veterans who would have benefited from ticket sales.

But it’s that last phrase, “ticket sales,” which seems to have caused much of the problem. The event, while bursting with great musicians, did not sell well and was not aggressively promoted. One would have expected to see some sort of television advertising about such a large event. But if there was any at all, it was too little, too late.

Any casual observer of cable television can tell you from the myriad musician “Biography” programs to the multiple showings of “This is Spinal Tap” that running and promoting one rock group is difficult. Organizing a festival, it would seem, is an organizational rat’s nest of difficulties. We hold out hope that next year the Festival can try again. San Marcos is an excellent place for such an event. It’s probably a good idea to remember that Abraham Lincoln once said, “He has a right to criticize, who has the heart to help.”

However, conference-goers and RMA members have posted glowing reviews of the San Marcos Embassy Suites Convention Center and San Marcian hospitality. The radio/promotion conference attendees had a ball. Many of these music professionals have blogged about the incredible lively music scene in San Marcos, from the musicians themselves to the amazing venues like the Cheatham Street and Riley’s.

So the Roots Music Awards continued and the attendees had a blast. Here are the categories and the winners. Our congratulations go out to all the local musicians and radio stations that won awards or made the top five nominee cut-off for the final vote. The RMA is a non-profit organization with thousands of members, and all of them have a vote, so these awards are given to musicians by musicians and members of the music community involved in promotions, booking, press and record labels. It truly is an award with some prestige. For more info and a list of RMA members, go to www.rootsmusicassociation.org.

The 2008 Roots Music Association Music and Industry Awards

Blues Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Buddy Guy
Pinetop Perkins
Sonny Landreth
Jimmy Vaughn
Watermelon Slim & The Workers

Winner:
Pinetop Perkins

Blues Label of the Year

Nominees:
Alligator
Blind Pig
Telarc
Delta Groove
Stony Plain

Winner:
Alligator

Blues Songwriter of the Year

Nominees:
Davis Cohen
Tom Gray
Marcia Ball
Liz Mandeville
Alvin Young Blood Heart

Winner:
Tom Gray

Blues Radio Station of the Year

Nominees
Sirius Blues
KPIG
KPFT
KUT
Blues Deluxe

Winner:
Blues Deluxe

Roots/Americana Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Roger Creager
Chris Knight
Emmylou Harris
Yarn
Eli Young Band

Winner:
Emmylou Harris

Roots/Americana Country Label of the Year

Nominees:
Smith Music Group
Lost Highway
New West
Universal South
Yep Roc

Winner:
Universal South

Roots/Americana Country Songwriter of the Year

Nominees
Fred Englesmith
Hayes Carll
Bruce Robinson
James McMurtry
Chris Knight

Winner:
Chris Knight

Roots/Americana Country Radio Station of the Year

Nominees
Sirius Outlaw Country
CKUA
WDVX
KGSR
XCountry XM Satellite

Winner:
Sirius Outlaw

Publicity Company of the Year

Nominees:
Blind Racoon
Rounder Publicity
So Much Moore Media
Blue Springs
Pete Knapp-Shut Eye

Winner:
So Much Moore Media

Reggae Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Mykal Rose
Burning Spear
Carlton Pride & Zion
Watusi
Michael Franti & Spearhead

Winner:
Burning Spear

Reggae Label of the Year

Nominees:
Easy Star
World Beatnik
Das Vibes
Rastafaria
Ras Sanctuary

Winner:
Rastafaria

Reggae Radio Station of the Year

Nominees
KPFK
KSBR
WKZE
KNON
KVMR

Winner:
WKZE

Gospel Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Ricky Skaggs
Joe Cocker
The Sacred Shakers
Jerry Yates
Blind Boys of Alabama

Winner:
Jerry Yates

Zydeco Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Jo-El Sonnier
Zydepunks
Allen Toussant
Rosie Ledet & Playboys
C.J. Chenier & Red Hot Louisiana Band

Winner:
Jo-El Sonnier

Jazz Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Herbie Hancock
Bill Frisell
Cassandra Wilson
Charlie Hayden
Lisa Hilton

Winner:
Herbie Hancock

True Country Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Dwight Yoakham
George Strait
Jason Boland
Lucky Tubb
Charlie Louvin

Winner:
Dwight Yoakham

True Country Label of the Year

Nominees:
Sony/BMG
Yellow Rose
Lost Highway
MCA
Lure Records

Winner:
Lost Highway

True Country Songwriter of the Year

Nominees:
Hank Cochran
Lyle Lovett
Alan Jackson
Thomas Michael Riley
Leslie Thatcher

Winner:
Alan Jackson

True Country Radio Station of the Year

Nominees:
Willie’s Place
KVET
KKYX
KRVL
WMRN

Winner:
KVET (Austin 98.1 FM)

Publishing Company of the Year

Nominees:
Blue Circle
Cybergrass
Fake Cabin
Balmy Swami
Delta Groove

Winner:
Delta Groove

Bluegrass Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Lonesome River Band
The Dixie Bee-Liners
The Steeldrivers
Merle Haggard
Alison Krauss

Winner:
The Dixie Bee-Liners

Bluegrass Label of the Year

Nominees
Pinecastle
Rounder
Sugar Hill
Skaggs Family
Rural Rhythm

Winner:
Pinecastle

Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year

Nominees:
Tim Crosby
Dennis Nelson
Brandy Hart
Charlie Sizemore
Steve Gully

Winner:
Dennis Nelson

Bluegrass Radio Station of the Year

Nominees:
Into the Blue
WDVX
KEOS
WKZE
Sirius Bluegrass

Winner:
Sirius Bluegrass

Cowboy/Western Swing Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Riders in the Sky
Kelli Grant
Bobby Flores
Asleep at the Wheel
John England

Winner:
Asleep at the Wheel

Cowboy/Western Swing Label of the Year

Nominees:
Western Jubilee
WR Records
Real West
Stony Plain
Oh Boy Records

Winner:
Oh Boy Records

Folk Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Anne McCue
Lisa O’Kane
John Hiatt
Carrie Rodriguez
Dar Williams

Winner:
Anne McCue

Folk Label of the Year

Nominees:
New West
Red House
Vanguard
Rykodisc
Sugar Hill

Winner:
Sugar Hill

Folk Songwriter of the Year

Nominees:
Maria Dunn
John Hiatt
Carrie Rodriguez
Rodney Crowell
Todd Snider

Winner:
Carrie Rodriguez

Folk Radio Station of the Year

Nominees:
CKUA
WUMB
KCLC
KFAN
WKZE

Winner:
KCLC

Promoter of the Year

Nominees:
Pete Knapp
Bill Wence
Al Moss
Debbie Green
Betsy Brown

Winner:
Pete Knapp

Roots Rock Artist of the Year

Nominees:
Steve Earle
Alejandro Escovedo
Los Lonely Boys
Cross Canadian Ragweed
Mickey and the Motorcars

Winner:
Mickey and the Motorcars

Roots Rock Label of the Year

Sugar Hill
Yep Rock
Epic
True North
Geffen

Winner:
Yep Rock

Roots Rock Radio Station of the Year

Nominees:
KPIG
KSYM
WYOU
KSIL
KGSR

Winner:
KGSR (Austin 107.1 FM)

Disc Jockey of the Year

Nominees:
Dallas Wayne
Mojo Nixon
Hank Moon
Mattson Rainer
Bill Dunbar

Winner:
Mattson Rainer (92.1 FM New Braunfels)

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2 thoughts on “RMA awards the unseen happy side of WUMF flop

  1. I was involved with this event as a musician. It was the biggest SCAM I have ever witnessed to date. My band played their mixer the Tuesday before the Festival. I suspected FOUL PLAY ever since. To date, I believe I am one of the few with intimate knowledge of what happened at the Fesitval. EVERYONE was taken advantage of at this event. Musicians. Vendors. SubContractors. Local Businesses. Embassy Suites. The City of San Marcos. Etc. People are NOT giving this the attention that it deserves. A Class Action Lawsuit should be filed as well as criminal charges. It should be noted that bands came from all over the world on their own nickel (or a discounted rate) to donate their time and effort.

    I love my town. I am an ARTIST. I am a SAN MARTIAN. I vow to NEVER EVER let such an aggregious act of criminal mischeif to ever step its foot in my back yard!

    We create our own Reality.

    Infinte Happiness.

    The San Martian.

  2. I agree that the concert part of this event was a fiasco of the first water. Both of the organizations involved with this event are non-profit but of course, none of the sub-contractors were, nor should they have been. I believe that the lack of ticket sales proved to be a sticking point not to mention embarrassing to these concert organizers. The United States Entertainment Force is led by a guy that is on the board of directors for the USO, he fought in Viet Nam, he was named Veteran of the Year by Bill Clinton. I don’t think he had the intention of taking advantage of anybody. It would certainly be out of character with his many other charitable endeavors.

    I think they were trying to land this thing on a wing and a prayer and you know the old saying, “In God we trust, all others must pay cash.” I think they came up short. It was really awful for all the musicians involved, as you say. This poor planning cost many businesses and musicians, not to mention the loyal music fan-attendees. However, I don’t think this was an intentional money-grabbing scam. I think it was, as the military says- a SNAFU. I think they panicked and chose their actions very poorly. I agree that investigation is needed.

    You’re right, we have to guard against this happening again. It could have been so cool. It’s just a crying shame. So many awesome musicians were here for this event. I love San Marcos, too, but I don’t want to see a shut-down on trying to do this again. I’m very proud of this town, just as you are, and I’d like to see it shine with more concert events. The measure of a town is how it handles the bad times, not the good. The WUMF did not make San Marcos crumble- we’ve got plenty of good music and concerned citizens. And, we won’t be fooled again.

    The convention for industry insiders saw a whole different event than the musicians and concert goers who were understandably upset, shocked and angry. In fact, they reported that many of the shunned musicians hung out in the lobby at the Embassy Suites and played to the great appreciation of the PR and Radio attendees.

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