Skip the lines at South by Southwest and hop on over to Southtown 101 bar this weekend for the first ever SouthXSouthtown, a four-day music festival showcasing local San Antonio musicians. The former White Rabbit, Paper Tiger, is offering a weekend of free music on North St. Mary’s St., but the SouthXSouthtown event has a unique focus on local bands. There’s no reason why you couldn’t attend both.
“We didn’t just want spillover bands, we wanted a really solid local lineup,” Slaughter said.
The event, which kicks off on Thursday and ends on Sunday, includes a diverse toss-up of 33 local and international acts like rock ‘n’ roll seven piece group The Hares, upbeat ska/therapy punksters Kill Liberal (pictured above), and Japanese electro-rock group MOTHERCOAT.
Slaughter said the idea for the festival came from a conversation between him and Fuentes about three months ago when the two decided to come up with a way to stage local bands who didn’t have the means to play at South by Southwest.
“San Antonio is kind of the underground of Austin,” Slaughter said. “There are just as many good bands coming out of San Antonio.”
Slaughter said word quickly got around and within the first few days of planning, they already had 25 bands booked.
“It’s almost like they were ready for something like this,” Slaughter said.
Fuentes, who formally operated Nightrocker Live on San Pedro Avenue and now runs R Gallery, is not new to the music scene. For the past 26 years, Fuentes has hosted many South by Southwest spillover shows at Nightrocker Live, The Mix, Wacky’s, and even his very own backyard.
“I’ve always been a big supporter of the local scene,” Fuentes said.
Fuentes believes San Antonio is changing – the music scene is growing, and he wants to promote the scene by showcasing what the city has to offer.
Fuentes said he supports festivals like the Maverick Music Festival, which bring large acts to the city, because they help promote San Antonio, but, he said, SouthXSouthtown is coming from a different angle.
“We do it for the love of the music and for the love of San Antonio,” Fuentes said. “It’s not about the money.”
Fuentes did the math and for a mere $20, festival goers get four days of music, three free drink tickets, and access to the R Gallery exhibit showcasing local artists, which is in conjunction with the event.
He said each day costs about $2.75.
Slaughter said they also plan on donating a portion of the proceeds to a school in the community.
Although the name rings similar to that of its Austin counterpart, Slaughter said they don’t want to consider this event and “alternative” to South by Southwest, but instead have it be an event of its own.
Slaughter said there obviously wont be 3,000 people and a flurry of lines, but still, they want to give off the festival vibes while allowing the performances to be up close and intimate.
Fuentes said he has heard many people complain about how San Antonio often gets skipped when it comes to international acts. He said this is the time for locals to come out and support the South by Southwest spillover shows and prove there is an available audience.
“For two weeks in San Antonio, anything goes,” Fuentes said. “It’s time for the audience to step up and support.”
Fuentes said if all goes well, he hopes to continue this event yearly and extend it onto a grander scale.
*Featured/top image: Kill Liberal, a ska/punk quartet, plays at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Courtesy photo.