Tuesday, November 20, 2007


[Local Music] While most of you are undoubtedly counting down the hours to Turkey/Tofurkey Day, I've got my mind set on January when City Weekly will put our revamped SLAMMYs plan into action.

In years past, we wrapped our local music issue around the South By Southwest music festival, sending down the winner of our battle of the bands competition to Austin where they performed in a showcase and (ideally) networked with "pretty big deals."

This year, festival organizers cut down our privileges, granting us fewer all-access music badges and one or two wristbands for the musicians. This came as no surprise to us as City Weekly was one of the last few alt-weeklies to hook up local groups with a show in Austin. Rather than throw a fit, we went back to the drawing board and instigated changes that should have been made long ago.

First, we decided to turn SLAMMYs into more of a showcase rather than a competitive forum. We also did away with applications, choosing instead to nominate bands that we feel best represent our local music scene. The nominating committee included myself, Bill Frost, several freelancers, record store owners and radio hosts whose tastes range from metal to country to blues and (nearly) everything in between.

Nominated acts will perform in one of three genre-appropriate showcases in January where audience members can vote for their favorites on-site or later online. There will no longer be a Band of the Year. We really want to emphasize the showcase aspect of this endeavor. We want to support local bands and expose readers to talented artists. When the lineups are announced, if you don't see your favorite band listed, go ahead and write them in! We encourage you to do so. We do not, however, encourage you to complain after the fact.

Be the change you want in the world, and all that. Here's to 2008! (Jamie Gadette)


  1. I'm in another state, but your post pulls back the cover just a tiny bit on which bands get showcases, and I'd like to know more.

    Only six bands from my state landed official showcases and all had some sort of recognizable label backing. So I have figured out that a random band, no matter how good, probably isn't going to get a slot.

    I also know people from my state who organize day parties so that they have some sort of presence at SXSW and so that some of their bands can play there, even if unofficially.

    So what is the relationship between the selection process and labels, PR agenices, booking agencies, sponsors, etc.? Do you have to buy your way into SXSW?

  2. I'm not sure how someone gets a show at SXSW. Our showcase used to be determined by a committee sorting through more than 100 applications which we narrowed down to around 60. These bands were then split up, NCAA tournament-style, at various clubs around town. They played to judges who were always hard to track down. The winner received SXSW music badges for each member of the band. We are a festival sponsor, but the showcase the band performed in Austin was always on an obscure street, at an obscure time with few people in the audience. Previous winners felt they got more out just networking offstage and getting a feel for what kind of talent is out there. Last year, the only act that absolutely blew me away played a non-SXSW party hosted by a local blogger. So, like the rest of the music industry, SXSW is often ruled by those with connections but increasingly the DIY way is the way to go.

  3. Thanks. That info is helpful. If I ask enough people enough questions about the process, maybe I will have it figured out.


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