This week, Boise Weekly hit the road to soak in some out-of-town festivals. BW New Media Czar Josh Gross chronicled his journey down to Austin, Texas, for the Boise showcase at SXSW on March 14. (You can read more about that on Page 15).
While in Austin, Gross also attended a number of music industry panels, including one that made the case that small markets, not high-profile big city performances, were the key to financial success for touring acts.
"The money is better in small markets," said Tim Drake, president of The Roots Agency. "There is a lower overhead. Not only can you build a career in small markets, you can make a better living."
Gross also attended Bruce Springsteen's flowing half-hour keynote address on March 15 that was "part slam poetry, part personal history and part singalong."
According to Gross: "Springsteen expounded his opinion that pop music has fractured itself into endlessly exclusive sub-genres. He rattled off a list of them that sounded like the shrimp speech from the Tom Hanks film Forrest Gump that concluded with 'Nintendo-core.' Springsteen finished the keynote by saying, "So rumble, young musicians, rumble. Open your ears and open your hearts. Believe you are the badest ass in town, but doubt. It keeps you honest."
In a stroke of luck, Gross' name was plucked from the proverbial hat to see Springsteen perform later that evening at the 2,700-capacity Moody Theater. According to Gross, "Springsteen strutted and crooned, climbed atop and leaped from a grand piano to rally the crowd. The man even stage-dived. Three times."
Then things took an even swoonier turn: The Animals' Eric Burdon, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello all joined Springsteen on stage. And for the show's grand finale, Arcade Fire emerged to join the rest of the gang in a version of "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie.
In a less musical but similarly star-studded event, Sun Valley hosted the inaugural Sun Valley Film Festival March 15-18. Though the town wasn't noticeably overrun with festival attendees, there was still a palpable buzz as folks flashed their passes in line at the Magic Lantern Cinema and chatted excitedly about films in the Coffee Grinder.
At the VIP Red Carpet party on March 16, Producer Heather Rae hob-nobbed with Magic Valley Writer/Director Jaffe Zinn at Ketchum's Cornerstone Grill while a raucous crowd downed free Tito's vodka drinks. Magic Valley's sold out premiere at the snow-blanketed Sun Valley Opera House on March 17 was similarly packed. You can read more about the SVFF in Screen on Page 35.