This is bound to create a problem in the already-crowded festival and touring space. Even before Coronavirus, we saw many festivals cancelling or postponing 2020 plans due to the inability to secure talent or due to competing festivals moving into their markets. Now you will have spring festivals competing with fall ones.
Not to criticize any other artist or bands no matter where they are from, but if the City of Austin wants to see more support for their local music, why is no support flowing to local artists through an event held in a local park, using local resources, receiving local tax breaks, and includes the name of the city right in its title?
According to multiple unnamed sources, Live Nation is currently negotiating a deal with C3 to purchase 51% of the company for around $125 million. It’s hard to see how Live Nation getting into the independent music business and a further drying up of competition could be good for independent music consumers.
37 years ago, Austin City Limits was founded to be the visual accompaniment to a book called The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock by Texas author Jan Reed. The book set out to chronicle the formation of the Austin, TX music scene that transpired in the late 60’s and into the 70’s, along with its many artists and side characters.
Indie doesn’t really have its own traditions, its own infrastructure like country, blues, or even Texas music. And in this music climate of massive contraction, this is not the time to be creating new infrastructure that may not be sustainable moving forward. So the solution appears to be to incorporate existing infrastructure that was built years ago for roots and country artists, ostensibly squeezing the support for these types of artists out of the picture.
Sure, the attrition is slow and calculated.But over time, as you look at the yearly schedules for things like Austin City Limits, or ACL Fest, or Pickathon…
I know some of you think that I’m a little crazy for touting Austin’s 15-year-old fiddling phemon Ruby Jane so highly. That is because you have never seen Ruby Jane live. If you had (or have), then you know that despite all of my ridiculous accolades, nothing I’ve written about her does any justice to how astonishing a Ruby Jane Show is. It is the best music I have ever seen live.