The XSXSW Charter: Things can be better.

March 16, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Causes  //  12 Comments

Things can be better.

As Texans, we are tired of every March being misrepresented by the madness South by Southwest creates. As citizens of Austin and surrounding areas, we want our city back. As fans and supporters of music, we want a better solution. As musicians, we want to be treated better.

SXSW is fueled in part by the broken dreams of America’s musicians. As a “pay to play” event, it is funded by the dreams that many artists have of attaining stardom or super stardom, when only a very select few will even be able to make a living playing music. Under the suggestion of what SXSW can offer, they make artists go through rigorous, bordering on egregious procedures and protocols, and make them deal with logistical, time, and parking nightmares no human would normally be asked to navigate.

The process can be even harder, and more expensive for patrons and media. Though many of the musicians are not getting paid, patrons are asked to spend upwards of 4 figures for access to the artists, on top of bloated prices for hotels, food, and other everyday expenses, and even then sometimes that access is denied for “exclusive” reasons by a corporate bureaucracy that many times seems unintuitive and unfair.

In short, deciding to be a part of the official SXSW festivities is deciding to give up your civil rights for a short period. This is especially true for citizens and business owners within the SXSW corridor whose space, infrastructure, and lives are commandeered by the event whether they like it, or agree to it or not.

The truth of the matter is the SXSW organization wants the event to be madness, because without gates, people problems are the only way they can control the scope or the amount of people attending the event. This is also one of the reasons SXSW is so slow at responding to concerns, if responding at all. In fairness to SXSW, they have created many priceless music experiences for people over the years, and the expansion of non-sanctioned SXSW events has added to the evolving logistical nightmare. However many of the non-sanctioned events are the result of the collusive, industry-driven oligarchical organization that makes up SXSW, and the wrongful way they deal with artists, media, and patrons.

The idea of XSXSW is to re-focus the event on music and people, to rekindle the spirit of the Austin music scene, as well as civic and Texas pride by using music to renew community, infrastructure, and people, instead of taxing them to their limits. Will XSXSW be prefect? Of course not, but our commitment is to try to be better, to listen to artists and patrons, to put people first, to attempt to innovate, and find new ways to bridge artists, fans, and media. Artists deserve to be paid. Fans deserve access to the music at a reasonable price. Money should go to music, not bloated infrastructure and branding.

And the focus should not be on a broken promise of stardom, but a path of sustainability for talented artists.

XSXSW may look tiny, or even silly in size and scope compared to SXSW. But in the coming years we hope to make enough noise to at least make them listen.

We ask for your help.

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12 Comments to “The XSXSW Charter: Things can be better.”

  • Keep on fighting the good fight! I see what is being created here and hopefully someday others will too. Good on ya brothers!


  • Im heading there in a few hours. I cant wait. I feel this article completely . I was all angry last month cause i couldn’t make it to the saxon pub showing yesterday, when they told me on the phone only if i pay that SXSW tickets i can see the show. They told me the tickets will be 700$. I ranted and rave on my favorite artists face book pages until Rachel Brooke message me go to the Austin Moose lodge showing. She was already the queen of my heart with her music. Now she is even more by telling me about today’s showing. Cant wait to hear James Hand, Hellbound glory, and Rachel Brooke especially. Hopefully there will be artists there just as good i haven’t heard of before.


  • Bad ass concert. If any of yall live in Texas, you suck, you missed a bunch of awesome artists that played one hell of a show. One artist I wish that played there and who was at the show was Dead Tree String Band. I bought her cd while meeting her there. The cd only had 4 songs but out of all the new artists, I just learn from there,she was my favorite. I played her 4 songs over and over on the way home.

    It was cool meeting James Hand. An outstanding Texas gentlemen from some far off past long ago blown away by the dust of a Texas wind. It was like digging up some great country singer 50 years ago and meet them in person with all the mannerism of older times.

    Hellbound glory was cool, the singer was a man of deep thought with a good loyal wife. The lap steel guitarist was bad ass to hang out with. Funny as hell. And I appreciate him playing part of Hard livin man for me and thankful for all of them playing Hank Williams records.

    Lonesome wolf had the most wildest banjo playing I ever seen. Awesome dude to hang out with.

    Sunny Valley had a good sound and some of the coolest dudes there.I would fly to just hang out with them again. I can go on and on about the all the great talents that were there but it would be just an endless praise.

    And Rachel Brooke was the gem of the world.She played “How Cold” for me as the first song when I told her about my dream I had of a bunch of maidens swimming along a destroyed river with me singing that song in a dark cold rainy night.

    The whole experience was truly a perfect evening.


    • I danced my ass off to James Hand last night. Hellbound and Sunday Valley were awesome.


      • Who couldnt wanna dance to James Hand. Its like living in another time period.


        • Hey Chris, were you the guy in the black cowboy hat and black vest. If so, then I should have bought you a drink.


          • Yes I am. Which one were you and thanks.


  • […] also a charter: “The idea of XSXSW is to re-focus the event on music and people, to rekindle the spirit of […]


  • I had an amazing time at XSXSW 5! My guys were so excited to be playing among such talented artists like Husky Burnette, James Hand, Ruby Jane, LoneWolf OMB, Hashknife Outfit, Moonhangers, Tom VandenAvond, Soda, Hellbound Glory, Rachel Brooke w/ Viva Le Vox.

    I love this charter. Thank you for sharing it!


    • Pearls, you kicked some serious ass both days. I’m glad I got to see you and the One-Eyed Jacks play.


      • Thanks so much Trainwreck!!! ;) glad you enjoyed our stuff!


  • from what i saw and analyzed that weekend you nailed it triggerman… this is a great article


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