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)