When it comes to South By South West, I have a few, not-so-nice things to say. As the HP article states, the huge, unbalanced ratio of Austin bands admitted to the festival does nothing to help it’s credibility as a serious music industry event. You might think that I’m just bitter because The Suspects were never invited, but that’s not the case… The Suspects played official SXSW showcases in ’95, ’96, and ’97 (and “unofficial” showcases the three years after that), so my opinion of the festival is not from lack of experience. Definitely, it’s the opposite. Six years of showcase showdowns taught me that the music is a total afterthought! The only reason why the industry pays attention to Austin is to get a free vacation that they can charge to their expense accounts. The purpose of SXSW is to get unsigned bands some major-label attention, but the alleged “highlight” of the festival is always a band that has already been signed! Hundreds of bands will play at SXSW 2003, but I’ll bet my bottom dollar that 90% of the A&R stooges that fly down to Austin next March will only be there so they can tell their buddies about how awesome The Vines or The White Stripes or The Hives were.
Ugh. Rant over.