AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austinites have helped raise thousands of dollars to support a local Latin music band whose instruments were damaged or sunk during a performance on Lady Bird Lake last week.
During their performance, the group had several dancers join musicians on the floating barge. As dancers exited the barge, Texas Rowing Center’s owner Matt Knifton told KXAN they exited on the same side, and the barge tipped over.
“It was fairly typical, as far as the number of people on the barge at the time,” Knifton told KXAN. “But on the last song, all of the dancers got off the barge on the same side, and that caused the barge to tip over.”
The Texas Rowing Center created a GoFundMe to support The Latin Dukes. There were amps, instruments, some cell phones and a laptop that were submerged during the incident, Knifton said.
“I’m working directly with The Latin Dukes to make sure that they’re made whole again with their equipment, and what isn’t salvageable and not covered by insurance, that we take care of them.”
So far, the center’s GoFundMe has raised nearly $1,500. A separate fundraiser created by an Austin teacher in support of the band has already garnered more than $2,600.
Knifton said members of The Latin Dukes have told him they’re overwhelmed by and grateful for the community support.
“They’re a really good group of guys — we have them come to our Moonlight Serenades probably two or three times per season, which is usually six individual events,” he said. “So they’re very well loved by the paddling community and in the Austin community at large.”
Knifton said the center has used the same barge for 18 years now. While he said this was the first time there was an incident involving the barge on the lake, the Texas Rowing Center will be implementing some changes ahead of the next Latino Moonlight Serenades season.
Some of those changes could include limiting the number of dancers on the barge, as well as possibly capping the number of performers permitted on the water. He also added shoring up the barge with an additional canoe to help stabilize it even more come next season.
“It was unfortunate to sort of punctuate [the 18th Latino Moonlight Serenades season] with this event at the very end, but we’re not deterred,” Knifton said. “We’ll improve the raft and we hope to have an even better season of Moonlight Serenades next year.”