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Publish Date: 9/10/2005

Radio jocks diss Oktoberfest when band doesn’t return


LONGMONT — If you have to upset someone, try not to make it radio talk show hosts.

A misunderstanding between the organizers of Longmont’s Oktoberfest celebration and the frontmen of the Groove Hawgs blues band — better known as Lewis and Floorwax of Fox 103.5’s hit morning show — led to a 30-minute on-air berating.

“When you’re doing something for a charitable organization and drawing a huge crowd and they don’t even appreciate it ... that’s what stings a little bit,” said Rick Lewis, couching his sentiments a bit more gently after calming down.

The misunderstanding started in February when a spokeswoman for the Longmont Symphony Orchestra, which coordinates Oktoberfest as a fundraiser, last spoke to Groove Hawgs manager Kathy Lee.

“Everything was fine,” Lee said. “We discussed dates and mentioned doing something with our kids’ foundation.”

The problem was that Lee didn’t call back until May. LSO organizers had assumed that the Hawgs didn’t want to come and, by that time, had already started making arrangements with other acts.

What really inflamed the radio show hosts, Lewis said, was a comment from Oktoberfest entertainment coordinator Dana Schmidt that the 2005 event “would be more family-oriented” — which he and Floorwax assumed meant their act wasn’t appropriate. Dana Schmidt, who coordinates with performers for the event, said her comments in no way implied that the Groove Hawgs weren’t family-oriented.

“We would probably have had them if (the band manager had) called back,” Schmidt said. “Lewis and Floorwax have been good friends of the symphony.”

The 12-person band has played at Oktoberfest since 2000 and has performed for free for the past several years, Lewis said.

“It’s our favorite show of the year,” he said. “We love the city and people of Longmont. And we do a family-friendly show. I bring my two young daughters, and my parents come.”

Ben Ready can be reached at 303-684-5326, or by e-mail at bready@times-call.com.

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