by Josh Gross
Last year, The Atlantic did some number crunching on the number of bands playing at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, and what cities they hailed from to see which music scenes were the most happening.
After the number crunchers adjusted for population, Boise, with nine bands performing at the 2012 festival, ranked sixth in the world for per capita representation.
This year, not so much.
Idaho's representation is almost nonexistent at this year's festival. The only Idahoan playing an official showcase at SXSW 2013 is Josh Ritter, who hasn't lived in Idaho for some time.
But there are some Idaho roots represented. MilkDrive, an Austin string band, has members who originally met at the National Oldtime Fiddler's Contest and Festival in Weiser; and Yellow Red Sparks from Los Angeles is the project of songwriter Joshua Hanson, originally from Yellow Pine.
There are also reportedly several Idaho musicians who will be in Austin to perform unofficial showcases, which are often bigger than the official shindigs. Boise rocker Matt Hopper and north Idaho folkstresses the Shook Twins have dates booked. Youth Lagoon is also planning on performing several unofficial shows with its new lineup.
The biggest thing to change from last year to this year is the Idaho Showcase. Last year's SXSW showcase at the IFC Vice Bar had six Boise bands, and this year, it isn't happening at all. According to Boise's Eric Gilbert, the Idaho showcase has merged with Portland, Ore., and Seattle showcases to form a Greater Northwest showcase, something which will be better for local music in the long run, but also means that no Boise bands made the cut this year.
The other big change is how big Treefort Music Fest got so quickly. Why drive to Texas for a music festival when you can just bike in on the Greenbelt?
Still, while BW is on the ground in Austin next week, we will make an effort to catch up with the locals playing off-strip about their SXSW experience and their expectations for the future of Idaho's representation.