South by Southtown Music Festival Keeps it Local

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Kill Liberal, a ska/punk quartet, plays at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Courtesy photo.

Kill Liberal, a ska/punk quartet, plays at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Kill Liberal.

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.

Southtown 101 owner Jeff Slaughter and R Gallery owner Roland “Nightrocker” Fuentes said the event is not only an opportunity to showcase local bands, but to promote San Antonio as a whole.

“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. 

Southtown 101 owner Jeff Slaughter, and R Gallery owner Roland “Nightrocker” Fuentes, stand in front of the SouthxSouthtown logo inside R Gallery. Photo by Adriana Ruiz.

Southtown 101 owner Jeff Slaughter, and R Gallery owner Roland “Nightrocker” Fuentes, stand in front of the SouthxSouthtown logo inside R Gallery. Photo by Adriana Ruiz.

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. 

R Gallery will host an art exhibit featuring artists Ruben Luna, Daniel Guerrero, and Ingrid Mejia during SouthxSouthtown on Thursday March 19. Photo by Adriana Ruiz.

R Gallery will host an art exhibit featuring artists Ruben Luna, Daniel Guerrero, and Ingrid Mejia during SouthXSouthtown on Thursday March 19. Photo by Adriana Ruiz.

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.

Southtown 101 on Pereida St. will host the first ever SouthxSouthtown on Thursday, March 19, in their parking lot. Photo by Adriana Ruiz.

Southtown 101 on Pereida St. will host the first ever SouthxSouthtown on Thursday, March 19, in their parking lot. Photo by Adriana Ruiz.

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.

Visit the event Facebook page for a complete list of bands and times. Tickets can be purchased online.

*Featured/top image: Kill Liberal, a ska/punk quartet, plays at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Courtesy photo.

Related Stories:

Local Musicians: SXSW is More Than a Gig

Reviving the Music Industry in San Antonio

Ready or Not: Paper Tiger to Open With Free Concerts

The Budding Midtown Music Scene

15 thoughts on “South by Southtown Music Festival Keeps it Local

  1. Have they gotten a cease and desist letter from SxSW yet? The SxSW are really protective about anyone borrowing any part of their name. About 10 years ago Delphine Gunning tried something similar and called it South by San Antonio, and the lawyers were all over it.

  2. Sweet. Hopefully some of the music will be to my taste since I’ll hear it whether I attend or not 😉

  3. Although this is a great start, this still does not represent the San Antonio music scene as a whole. I would love to talk to Jeff soon about collaborating to showcase the hundreds of other musicians here in SA that go unnoticed because they don’t cater to the rock or punk crowd. Just as SA is diverse, so are our musicians. #BeInclusiveSA

  4. Be original please, and stop piggybacking off of an already established event from our neighbor up north. No offense to the local talent, but SA needs to think bigger and attract regional and national talent. And SXSW is more than music. Where the hell is SA 2020 when you need them!

  5. Really like Mr Andrew Valdez said. Or just call it Spill Off, showcasing local, and talent that couldn’t be squeezed into the event up north.
    Besides trying to keep it all for yourselves in your neck of the woods.
    Spread it out south on I-35. With shows in San Marcos, New Braunfels, Kirby, Luckenbach, Selma, and SA.

  6. Please change the name… For the love of originality and San Antonio, please change the name… Let’s not continue to market ourselves as “Austin is full but we’re not”

      • It depends on who they want to market to. If this event wants to be kept local and not expand to something that appeals to a larger audience (i.e. outside of SA) then honestly, the name is probably fine. If it wants to market to a larger audience and get more recognition, SXST is not going to cut it. At the very least, remove the SX and just call it Southtown. Something with a sense of independence and originality that says “you won’t find this anywhere else”

      • Maybe Southtown wouldn’t work since the bar is called Southtown 101 (which in itself would have been a cool name for a music festival (or special annual event of some sort) imo… like if you changed the bar name to Southtown and then changed the festival name to Southtown 101……. just a thought). Maybe Southtown Live or Live@Southtown. Really these just come down to my personal style/aesthetic preference which might not (and probably don’t) cater to the wider opinions of the public haha basically it just sounds cool to me and anybody else who might agree…

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