The Atlantic: Festival Metrics Rank Boise Sixth-Best Music Scene in World


The Atlantic ran an article this weekend that took the number of bands playing at SXSW in Austin, Texas, and cross-referenced those numbers with where the bands are from in order to find which cities have the hottest music scenes by the SXSW barometer.

Topping the list for entries are somewhat obvious places like New York, London, Austin and Los Angeles. But when the number-crunchers factored in the population of the cities to see what percent was being represented, a very different picture emerged, one that showed smaller towns ruling the festival.

Portland, whose shadow Boise always seems to be in, made neither list. But thanks to the nine bands from Boise playing at this year's SXSW, the City of Trees placed sixth, just behind Nashville.

From the article:

Of course, big cities have a size advantage. To control for this, Adler [the study's researcher] charted the number of SXSW bands per million people.

The picture now changes dramatically ... with smaller cities rising to the top. Austin is the overwhelming leader with more than 23 bands per million. That makes sense: Austin is the festival's hometown. Oxford and Brighton, England, take second and third, with 20 and 19 bands per million, respectively. Athens, Ga., is fourth with 16. And then there's a big drop off with Nashville (5.7); Boise (4.9); Hamilton, Ontario (4.5); Copenhagen (4.1); Montreal (3.9); and Leeds, England (3.8) rounding out the top 10.

Bigger cities are farther down the list: London is 12th, New York 15th, L.A. 17th and Toronto 21st. ... Smaller indie music scenes are quite well-represented at SXSW, which is fitting for a festival held in the city known as "the live music capital of the world."

In next week's issue of Boise Weekly, we will take an in-depth look at how and why Boise's music scene has flourished in the last several years, how that led to the inaugural Treefort Music Festival and what it could all mean to the city as a whole.

That story will hit the stands Wednesday, just in time for Treefort.