Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What I Am Missing


"In its 19-year history, it has grown from being a jolly spring get-together for a few hundred US indie labels and musicians in search of a deal, to an international gathering that is the most important date in our music industry calendar." The Guardian, March 25, 2005

1,400 bands. Sixty stages. Six days of dawn-til-dawn general musical mayhem, non-stop concerts, schmoozing with the industry movers and shakers, free beer and barbeque all week long just for flashing the shiny press badge, backstage passes and interviews with my favorite musicians in the world, and a chance to hang in one of the coolest cities on the planet, Austin, Texas.

Every year I delete all my e-mail invitations, don't send away for the press badge that could be mine, decline my Paste brethren's gracious invitations to attend, and remain in Columbus, Ohio instead, earn a paycheck, put the kid (soon kids) through college, and write, at least this particular year, the J.P. Morgan Chase Network Node Manager (NNM) Installation and Configuration Guide. Hmm, The New Pornographers, Belle and Sebastian, and Mogwai, all on the same stage at the same tiny venue, or more documentation on the Duplicate Message Reduction dedup.conf tool? Choices, choices.

I will not be bitter. I will not envy my Paste brethren and their damned short sleeves in the seventy-degree weather and their hospitality tent featuring free beer and barbeque and performances by Richard Julian, Collin Herring, Amos Lee, World Party, The Plimsouls (The re-formed Plimsouls! With Peter Case! Good God.), and The Go! Team. I will not grow resentful over the Ohio sleet and the NNM Installation and Configuration Guide. I will be a happy corporate boy and sit on my swivel chair in my cubicle and think happy corporate thoughts.


Anonymous said...

How about Austin City Limits in September?

teddy dellesky said...

you're a damn fool!

mommy zabs said...

awe that has got to hurt. I'm sorry.

Jeff Cannell said...

I love music.

But I could not imagine going to the recording industries equivalent of college spring break in daytona.

I would love seeing many of these bands one at a time while hanging with good friends- but these festivals are overwhelming.

Concerts are to Festivals
Marital Sexual Bliss is to a sex orgy.

Too much of a good thing out of an appropriate context and it may kill you.

Maybe I'm old now.

Andy Whitman said...

Ah, leave it to my pastor to come up with the sex orgy analogies. One of the many reasons I love you, Jeff.

I suspect that SXSW is way too much of a good thing. In this case, the festival element is somewhat mitigated by the fact that bands play in the many bars in Austin. However many people a bar holds is how many people will attend any given concert. And honestly, that's part of the appeal. You get to see a lot of great musicians/bands in relatively intimate settings.

But the spring break analogy is accurate, too. It's a week of general debauchery, which I don't need. I'd love the music. I'd love the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my Paste cohorts. I'd probably welcome the opportunity to make some new contacts with music folks because in the music industry, as in any other industry, networking is a big part of the game.

I could do without the rest of the circus. And I'd struggle with not being able to go to bed by 11:00. Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that this really is a young person's milieu. Rock 'n roll all night long, or at least until the local news comes on.