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(Posted: Sept. 23, 2003. Got a tip to share? Email us.)

Pink Floyd icon flies again
Inflatable pig makes appearance at Austin City Limits Music Festival

Pink Floyd fans attending the Austin City Limits Music Festival Saturday, Sept. 20, received a surprise when the 40-foot inflatable pig made famous by its concert appearances with Floyd flew above the crowd.

The pig took flight during a set by the String Cheese Incident. Organizers showed a video of the swine's work with the Floyd on a jumbo screen during the band's performance before a crew of eight walked the tethered beast through the crowd while the band played "Another Brick in the Wall."

The inflatable, believed to be from Floyd's 1988 tour of "A Momentary Lapse of Reason," was purchased by String Cheese Incident's co-manager Mike Luba from a Floyd stagehand in 2002. Torn in five sections with substantial pieces missing, the band had been told by hot air balloon experts that the pig would never again be airworthy.

"Everybody thought I was nuts — the band, my partners," Luba says. "They looked at that box full of rags and said I was crazy to buy it."

But Nga Keith of Bluebonnet Cut & Sew in Austin thought otherwise.

"At first I wasn't sure I could fix it," said Keith, a 49-year-old Vietnam native who moved to Austin in 1981. "The face was almost gone."

Eventually she was able to match the acrylic fabric of the inflatable and reconstruct it in four places, even if she had no idea of the pig's history. "I had no idea the pig was famous," she says.

Inflatable pigs first entered Floyd lore with the cover of 1977's "Animals" album. They went on to become a staple of the band's live shows, becoming so much of the popular culture as to be parodied on television shows such as "The Simpsons."

(Posted: Sept. 23, 2003)

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Updated: June 12, 2004

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