News Column

Norman moves to the music

April 26, 2014

By Hannah Cruz, The Norman Transcript, Okla.



April 26--NORMAN -- From collared button-up shirts to colored mohawks, hundreds roamed downtown Norman Friday night hopping from venue to venue during the second night of the free, seventh annual Norman Music Festival.

As the streets pulsed with the sounds of rock 'n' roll -- trills of electric guitar and beating drums reverberating -- Norman resident Tanya Mattek bobbed between people snapping photos.

The hobbyist photographer stopped interesting looking individuals to take photos for her blog, People in the Trenches. The blog, on Facebook and Tumblr, is meant to celebrate humanity in Norman and the Oklahoma City metro, she said.

Mattek came to support local musicians, of course, but she said the people-watching was her first priority.

"Well, why wouldn't you? Look around," she said, laughing, on why she came to the festival. "This is why -- let me show you."

Pulling out her camera, Mattek showed a photograph she had taken of a young woman with purple hair, red animal print leggings and black boots. Mattek described others she had seen during the course of the evening, including a man with dreadlocks to his ankles.

It's the diversity of people that attracts Mattek to bring her camera to the festival. She said the fact that the yearly festival is free allows for an inclusive, community setting where all are allowed to be themselves.

"If something is free, it's more of a community thing and it means you're not excluding anybody based on their ability or non-ability to pay," she said. "It brings people together. I think it puts everyone on a level playing field."

Mattek stopped showing her photographs on the back of her camera to interrupt a man walking by who was sporting a blue and gold macaw on his shoulder.

Quickly, dozens passing by huddled around to ask questions about the exotic bird owned by Norman resident William Cox. The bird, Jack, passed freely from shoulder to shoulder in the group as strangers squeal ed over the oddity and took pictures with the new friend.

Cox said he frequently takes Jack out to socialize, even taking him to bar patios. The bird was purchased over the summer for $500 from a pawn shop, Cox said, in honor of his late father, who once owned exotic birds himself.

Other sights along Main Street included a man dressed as a hot dog. Norman resident Geo Cozad, a.k.a. "Hot Dog Man," stood in front of The Diner selling "the world's greatest chili dogs."

Between barking "get your hot dogs" and "Frito chili pie, folks," Cozad said the festival is a great chance for up and coming musicians to get their start.

"This gives them the perfect opportunity -- there's tons of venues, tons of people who just want free music, ya know? It's just start-up for bands," he said. "It's just great for people to get out of the house, away from the TV, walk around -- very community building."

On the corner of Main Street and Peters Avenue, a handful of women on rollerskates passed out fliers for the Oklahoma Victory Dolls.

Skater Jamee Valcik, aka "Czech 12," said the team comes to the festival every year to promote their team, interact with the community, and if they're lucky, recruit skaters.

A music teacher during the day, Valcik said she appreciates the festival for more than just the opportunity to get the word out about her sport.

"I think it's important because it keeps Norman unique, there's some kind of culture," the Norman resident said.

The third and final day of the festival begins 12 p.m. today, with shows scheduled through 1 a.m. For a full festival lineup and schedule visit normanmusicfestival.com.

Hannah Cruz

366-3533

hcruz@normantranscript.com

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(c)2014 The Norman Transcript (Norman, Okla.)

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Source: Norman Transcript (OK)