Whitney Pastorek
March 14, 2007 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Greetings from the streets of Austin, PopWatchers! It is a horrid, drizzly day, but if there’s one group of people who know how to plan for inclement weather, it’s Canadians… and so I’d like to thank the organizers of the Canadian Blast for providing me this wonderful tent to sit under and drop a line to all my bloggy friends.

BREAKING NEWS: My mother has just called to inform me that Rascal Flatts canceled their concert at tonight’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I do not know any further details, but if I were a bettin’ gal, I’d say Gary and Jay’s pretty severe illnesses finally caught up with them, and I wish them, sincerely, a speedy recovery. Sympathies to anyone who had tix; why not use your raincheck to catch Dierks Bentley on Friday night?

Anyway, I think I’m the first EW reporter to hit Austin — Michael Endelman, Leah Greenblatt, and Shirley Halperin are on their way, and EW.com editor Adrienne Day is someplace prepping to play flute (we’ll let her explain that if she wants to) — and my journey in from Houston involved significantly more hail than I’d like it to. But after stopping at two gas stations and a Taco Bell to let the blinding storm pass, the family Saturn and I arrived in the state capital and got down to business. It took me an (almost) painless 45 minutes to get my credentials, but my badge and I are ready to go.

First band of my festival: Young Galaxy, out of Montreal, on Arts& Crafts. Melodic, shouty groove rock, with keys and tambourine,and a drummer who looked like George Harrison. I give them a tentativestamp of approval, but would have to hear more than two songs to reallyknow. But hey, Canadians (and the Arts & Crafts label) get a bigbenefit of the doubt. In fact, I can’t name a group of musical Canucksthat I don’t enjoy… can you?

A band called The Cliks are playing right now; I cannot hear themover the DJ booth, which has inexplicably been left on, and is playinga Wham! song. It seems as though they are garage-rocky, though. Oh!Wait! I can hear them now… and they are covering Justin Timberlake’s”Cry Me A River”!  Well, okay then! That’s one way to get my attention,and to trump Wham!.

Next: a much-hyped young man named Luke Doucet. And then I have towalk across the street and attend Pete Townshend’s keynote address.Which will be about something compelling, I’m certain.

Look for more posts as the day — and the festival — roll on, and be sure to check in at our EW Flickr page throughout the week for hot pics of all the hot action. Hott!

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