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'Jump On It' Is Bigger Than Ever This Year

Austin's Nook Turner started the Jump On It Summer Music Festival way back in the '90s, when he was just a teenager. Twenty-one years later, the festival has grown larger and more ambitious than ever. The fest has always featured live music (including hip hop, jazz, and R&B) and an educational component, but this year they're expanding both of those efforts.

"This year we'll be at the Travis County Expo Center, this year we added two stages, this year we installed the Jump On It University, which takes teens and adults. We teach them financial literacy [and] successful character building," says Turner. 

He's also hoping to use Jump On It to improve relations between the APD and Austin's African-American community. "We're working with the police department," Turner says. "Whatever we've got going on with the community -- Black people and the APD -- we're going to bridge that gap."

Jump On It is focusing on expanding its educational and community outreach components, but it certainly hasn't forgotten the music part. "We're bringing down a lot more artists, and we're still booking artists," Turner says. “I want it to be real music, and I want it be real messages in the music.”

The growth of the festival has come with some growing pains, Turner says. A couple of weeks before the start of the festival, he was still booking acts and looking for additional funding. "The growth also takes money," he says. "It's not going to happen unless people come out and support it and really appreciate what we're doing for the city and what we're doing for the community and the youth."

For Turner, putting on an event this large is hard but rewarding work. "That's what Jump On It is. In a nutshell, it's a summer music festival that brings everybody out to enjoy themselves, get resources, love on each other, and walk away a better person than you was before you came," he says. "Simple as that."

Jump On It is every Wednesday (except July 4) through August 8 at the Travis County Expo Center.

Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces and hosts This Is My Thing and Arts Eclectic, and also produces Get Involved and the Sonic ID project. When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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