“The first year I didn’t envision it as something I would be doing 25 years later,” said SXSW creative director Brent Grulke, who’s worked at the festival since the first edition in 1987. “I was the stage manager, making my living as tour manager and sound engineer for bands, and my perspective was different than `co-founder and current managing director` Roland Swenson’s. He had a better sense of what an event like this could be but, for me, it was just another gig, but on steroids.”
A quarter of a century later, the festival keeps on growing and changing. Besides more panels, bands, stages, and venues for live music, all the trade shows have been combined into a single show for the first time.
“In the past we had separate film, music, and interactive shows, and this year we combined all of them because they kept intersecting and we were having more requests to have all those business people closely work with each other.”
The World and Latin music showcases also grew, but it is the increase of Latin alternative artists (ranging from electronica and hip-hop to metal and fusion) that has been most noticeable.
“At first we only dealt with bands from Mexico, but the interest shown by bands from Spain was an eye-opener for us,” said Festival Coordinator Alicia Zertuche, who programmed all the Latin showcases. “Even though every year we have more bands from Latin America, we’d like to replicate what the Europeans do, which is send bands from virtually every `European` country. It’ll take some time, but we’ll get there.”
The following are some of the Current’s picks for local and national acts. Click on the individual links below for all the details.
For a more comprehensive list of Latin/World showcases, go to our Sound & Fury blog at sacurrent.com. — Enrique Lopetegui