AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Latin band in Austin is gearing up for its first performance back after a barge incident during a Lady Bird Lake performance.
The Latin Dukes were performing at the final Latino Moonlight Serenades event Sept. 28. The Texas Rowing Center hosts the seasonal six-show series, featuring local Latin bands performing on Lady Bird Lake on full moon evenings.
During the final number of their performance, bassist Chris La Cava told KXAN he saw a rush of water on top of the floating barge as people shuffled off the floating stage.
“I looked up — the barge started to list, and then maybe two seconds later, I was in the water,” La Cava said. “It happened really fast, probably all said and done in less than five seconds.”
Amps, instruments, some cell phones and a laptop ended up submerged in the water after the incident. During the initial days that followed, La Cava said bandmates were in a state of shock, trying to take inventory of damaged and lost items while also processing what had happened.
As bandmates worked to identify items needing replacement or repair, community support began flowing in from both fans of The Latin Dukes, along with other Latin bands in the greater Austin area.
The Texas Rowing Center launched a GoFundMe following the incident that has raised nearly $1,900 to support the band. The center’s owner, Matt Knifton, told KXAN Thursday he’s been in talks with the band and will work to cover any equipment repairs or replacement expenses not covered by insurance.
Alongside the center’s GoFundMe, resident and Austin Hispanic teacher Blanca Gálvez-Pérez launched her own fundraising effort that has since raised nearly $3,000. Sergio Ramos, guitarist and lead singer for The Latin Dukes, said the band has received “overwhelming support” from Austin teachers, and especially those who teach Spanish in the community.
“Teachers are not the most wealthiest, the wealthiest teachers in town,” Ramos said. “But from the very beginning, they’ve showed their empathy and support to us.”
On Thursday, Ramos said The Latin Dukes will have its first performance back after the incident. The band is slated to play at The Cactus Café at 7:30 p.m., performing with instruments lent by other Latin bands in Austin.
“I mean, borrowing the instruments from others….you have a piece of their souls also represented there on the stage,” he said. “It’s going to be a very special one. So hopefully, we’re going to be able to show our gratitude.”
La Cava said the ability to move forward as a band within the week-and-a-half since the incident has been a testament not only to The Latin Dukes’ fans, but the sense of camaraderie displayed by Latin bands in Austin supporting one of their own.
“When everything was so chaotic, [the audience at the serenades show] were the ones that were helping us save the instruments and making sure that everyone was safe and out of the water,” he said. “For all the craziness that happened, there was a lot of positivity, and we really felt it immediately from the audience there, and then from the community shortly thereafter.”