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April 26, 2014

Norman moves to the music

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.

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