My earlier post about SXSW 2008 got me thinking: where are all the party invites, press releases hyping showcases and all the other annual hoopla surrounding what is supposedly the music industry’s most important yearly gathering? The pre-festival buzz for this year’s festival hasn’t just been toned down, its been practically non-existent. A non-scientific poll of many of the publicists, industry heads and random cred stackers I got drunk with last year at SXSW finds that most of them are taking a pass on SXSW 2008. It seems like they aren’t the only ones either. Discussion over at the ever-vigilant industry board Velvet Rope seems to be unanimously negative in regards to this year’s festival, including rumors as to the possibility of the perenially badass Levi’s / Fader multi-day party being a no-go this year and the possibility that the fest has perhaps gotten a bit too big for its own good:
I think it may have jumped the shark last year. Too much PR about bands that didn’t matter. Too many things going on to focus on music that might have mattered. Too much like an economic development trade fair now.
Its bigness was an asset for awhile — everyone would be there. But once it got to a certain size, then it was probably too big to get anything done. When you have 1500+ bands getting official showcases and most of them getting ignored, sooner or later you end up asking, why are they here?
I know several industry insiders telling people not to bother to register or buy a pass because there are enough free events that you don’t need one. And I think the bands themselves have grown tired of spending $30 to apply when they know they won’t get in. And if they come to accept that they don’t have a chance, they can just tune out the whole thing.
I guess we’ll see in a couple of weeks.
Photo of me from SXSW 2007 by Melissa Welliver (Hardly Knew Her)