LifeNotes: Music Veteran and SXSW Festival Co-Founder Louis Meyers Passes



Veteran music manager and SXSW co-founder Louis Jay Meyers passed away in Austin, Texas on Friday, March 11, 2016, which was also the opening day of this year’s South By Southwest festival. The cause of death is not immediately known.

Meyers is the co-founder, creator, and former director of the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW).  He was part of a small group of Austin boosters who established SXSW in 1987. The first event showcased 200 acts in one hotel. The festival now occupies large areas of the city and incorporates film and technology as well as music.

Once the festival was established, Louis Meyers moved on to become the executive director of Folk Alliance International, 2002-2010. He then became that organization’s special projects director. It was during this phase of his career that he graduated from Nashville’s Leadership Music program in 2012.

In recent years, he has been managing the bluegrass band The Hillbenders. The group made headlines by re-recording the songs of The Who’s rock opera Tommy in bluegrass style. The resulting 2015 CD was titled Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry, released on Nashville’s Compass Records label.

Born in 1955 and raised in Austin, Texas, Meyers was a musician for 45 years, performing live and recording on guitar, banjo, and pedal steel guitar. His credits include recordings or performances with Willis Alan Ramsey, Bruce Robison, Killbilly, Bill & Bonnie Hearne, The Killer Bees, Jello Biafra, Mojo Nixon, Fastball, Michael Hearne, Stonehoney, Tennessee Boltsmokers and many others. As a producer, Meyers won the NAIRD award for Independent Reggae release in both 1987 and 1989 for his work with The Killer Bees.

In the 1980’s, Meyers was a concert promoter producing hundreds of shows at Austin’s legendary Liberty Lunch concert venue and was the primary talent buyer for Austin’s famous Antone’s Nightclub in the late 90’s.

After leaving SXSW in 1995, Meyers directed the LMNOP Music Conference (New Orleans), Rockrgrl Music Conference (Seattle), A2A: Access to Amsterdam Conference (Amsterdam), and the Austin Music Network (AMN) before taking the position as Executive Director of the Folk Alliance International organization and conference in 2005.

A Celebration of Life will be planned with details announced in the coming weeks.



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Sherod Robertson is President and Owner of MusicRow Enterprises. He oversees all operations and develops strategic initiatives for MusicRow magazine, RowFax, and MusicRow's CountryBreakout chart. Robertson previously served as Director of Finance of Arista Records after beginning his career as Vice President of Finance and CFO at Reunion Records.

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