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South By Southwest Co-Founder Louis Meyers Has Died

Jake Jacobson
Jake Jacobson

South By Southwest co-founder Louis Meyers has died, the Austin Statesman reports. Festival director Roland Swenson confirmed the news. The cause of death is still unknown.

Meyers was one of the four original founders behind the Austin music festival and conference in 1987 when it was just a three-day event. He served as the music booker until he sold his shares in 1994. In the ‘80s, he was also a partner in Austin venue Liberty Lunch and managed several local bands.

After stepping down from SXSW, Meyers moved to Denmark, New Orleans and Amsterdam. He also acted as the director for Kansas City’s Folk Alliance International before moving back to Austin in 2014, where he was still working as a musician and producer with local artists.

“The reason South By Southwest worked for the industry is because we took time to be the A&R people,” Meyers told Kansas City’s the Pitch in 2013 during his time with Folk Alliance International. “We cleared through thousands of showcase entries to find a few hundred acts that we felt were ready to be seen by the industry. It was critical to me personally that every act at South By was worth seeing, that nobody would walk away going, ‘How the hell did that band get booked at this thing?’”

The news of Meyers’ passing arrives just as the 30th SXSW launches with the tech-centric Interactive festival today (March 11). President Obama gave the keynote speech. The music portion of the festival begins Tuesday, March 15, and runs through March 20, with more than 2,000 bands playing over the course of the week.

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