South By Southwest 2008: Let The Bottle-Service-Fed Jerks Descend!

musick.jpgUPDATE: According to someone purporting to be No Depression’s Peter Blackstock, the press release claiming to be from the Austin “ultra lounge” Panagea and saying that people who shelled out $300 or more for bottle service at No Depression’s South By Southwest showcase would get “priority admission” was a hoax against the club. Pangaea, which opened in October 2007, referred to itself as an “ultra lounge” and did point out that “bottle service,” also known as the practice of reserving a table by overpaying for a bottle of liquor, was available when it opened. The origin of the “hoax” press release is unknown at present; the original post is below. We’d like to take a second to apologize to No Depression for basically being collateral damage in what seems to be one person’s effort to, as they say, keep Austin weird in the face of the city’s increasing smoothing-out.

So the nu-South By Southwest is already causing headaches for and bellyaching from longtime festivalgoers, thanks to more people descending on Austin during that week than ever, a crackdown on “unofficial” parties, Rachael Ray horning in on the whole shebang, and corporate sponsorship that seems icky even for the music business. However, there’s no better way to feel slightly grossed out by this year’s installment than by reading the festival announcement from the newish club Panagea, which bills itself as a place where Austin will learn how to “party with class”; it’s hosting a showcase sponsored by No Depression, the Americana magazine that’s ceasing publication after its next issue because of soft ad revenues.

Now Pangaea will teach Austin how to party with class at a live music venue! Pangaea is a full bottle service club, you can reserve a table and bottle for an average $300 per bottle. Order an expensive bottle and it will be brought out with a sparkler (so that everyone sees and knows you’re a player)….

All badge holders are welcome, but please note dress code is strictly enforced. (Hint: no broke people in t-shirts or dirty converse please!) The dress code also applies for country shows, this is not the Broken Spoke! To ensure the quality of the guests and VIP experience, Pangaea will not sell any single admission
tickets and limit wristband entry. Don’t have a badge? Reserve a table ($300 bottle minimum) and get on the private Pangaea guest list! Badgeholders meeting dress code will get first priority in line, but Pangaea bottle patrons get guarranteed admission regardless.

$300 minimum to guarantee entry? Now, I have serious problems with the whole “bottle service” concept in general–point one being the way it gives license to idiots who seem to think that “paying a 1000% markup on a bottle of vodka” is a substitute for “having a personality”–but that number seems even more absurd/depressing when you look at No Depression‘s now out-of-date advertising FAQ:

You can buy an ad in No Depression for as little as $185. A black & white sixth page runs from $225-$330, depending on the frequency with which it’s run.

You’d think that if someone was willing to spend all that money on a bottle of vodka to be quaffed while watching music, they’d at least want to help out the people who helped book that show in a slightly more direct way. Well, let this be a lesson to you, print magazines who want to stay afloat: Give your advertisers sparklers if they spend a lot of money in your pages. This way, they’ll be reassured that everyone knows they’re a player!

South By Shark Jumped, Part 2 [The Daily Swarm]

  • Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    The dress code also applies for country shows, this is not the Broken Spoke!

    You’re damned right it isn’t.

  • Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    Wait wait wait…

    THIS is what’s going where the old Alamo Draft House on Colorado once was?


  • Michaelangelo Matos

    the only bottle service this place deserves is a few well-aimed molotov cocktails

  • loudersoft

    I guess they needed something to be depressed about, and what could be more depressing than this?

  • The Cooler

    Nothing says “class” like a well-placed sparkler.

  • Dead Air ummm Dead Air

    This is pretentious…even for most of the indie bands that will be at Sx.

  • Ted Striker

    @Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee:

    Yup. Right where I saw my first Mr. Sinus show. Guuuuuh.

    Although I’m told that the new 6th St. Drafthouse isn’t bad.

  • El Zilcho!

    @The Cooler: That’s how you know that Million Dollar Birthday Fries are the epitome of haute cuisine

  • The Notorious T

    SXSW…all it’s lacking now is U2 showing up in an “intimate club show” to promote a new album combined with gratuitous drunken celebrity crotch shots to make it truly classy.

  • Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @El-Zilcho: The Texas Cheesecake Depository is WAY classier.

  • Anonymous

    what happens when the sparkler burns out!? how will people know I’m a player?

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget, Was (Not Was) will be at SXSW this year, which makes everything okay. I believe Jim Boggia will be there as well.

  • the rich girls are weeping

    OMG, this is why I’m never going to SXSW ever again. Ever.

    @Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee: Well, it’s not like Pangaea doesn’t fit the tenor of that end of the Warehouse District well, actually. (I can only imagine it’s become more loathsome in the past year and since ADH moved.) Though, good goddamn, I’d give a billion dollars to eat a massive, rich lunch at Capitol Brasserie today. *sigh*

    That being said, BRUCE ROBISON AND DANIEL LANOIS on the same bill? Anyone got $300 I could borrow?

  • Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @the rich girls are weeping: That is true. That bar on the corner of 6th and Colorado always gave me the heebie jeebies.

  • blackstock

    Folks, let’s be sure this was actually a legit transmission from the club — as opposed to a bogus post from a troll — before jumping all over this.

    SXSW has already assured me that the terms outlined in that note are unacceptable for them. And of course they’re most certianly unacceptable to No Depression as well. Obviously if this bit about a dress-code is true, ND will yank its name from the bill and will contact all the artists to make sure they can make whatever decision they feel is best for them.

    (I do appreciate, btw, the kind words on us getting Lanois and Robison on the same bill. Let’s just wait and see whether this venue thing maybe isn’t nearly what has been posted.)

  • blackstock


    If Idolator has any common journalistic sense whatsoever, they will pull this entire thread and post some sort of disclaimer, as well as an apology for spreading false news without even bothering to check it.

    Is this really what passes for journalism these days? It’s pathetic. You guys should really be ashamed of yourselves for helping to propagate this complete fabrication.


    Peter Blackstock


    In fact it appears to be sabotage against primarily Pangaea, and using SXSW as the weapon.
    The club has been contacted. They are quite surprised by the “press release”. It did not come
    from them. They do not have a dress code. They do offer ‘bottle service’ but do not advertise
    it, and certainly not during SXSW. They want to be austin friendly and would never diss a certain
    demographic or another establishment. The post on austin has been removed already and
    you can not even trace it.

    This is from Todd, our venue liason, and comes directly from the Pangaea owner:

    pangaea claims this is a fraudulent ad and are pursuing the poster with a possible lawsuit. there is no dress code. badges have priority. wristbands and cash tickets are allowed. they have assured me these are sxsw shows and are in full support of our policies.

  • loudersoft

    I just want to say hi Peter and it’s good to see you online. I’m glad you came here to clear this up, and I’m sorry it took something crappy like this to bring you here. ND was one of the, if not #1, most discussed topics of conversation amongst people this weekend at Folk Alliance.

  • loudersoft

    Why would someone do this?

  • Maura Johnston

    @blackstock: thank you; the post has been updated. (and actually the club does advertise its bottle service heavily, including in the austin american-statesman article that it features on its web site.)

  • the rich girls are weeping

    Color me suspicious.

  • loudersoft


  • the rich girls are weeping

    Blah. The “Keep Austin Weird” campaign is one of the reasons I LEFT that city.

  • Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @the rich girls are weeping: …and Groovy Lube shed a trasmission fluid-y tear.

  • Ted Striker

    @the rich girls are weeping:

    Oh come on: a frat boy in an OAR shirt puking on your lawn is part of the “charm”…

  • the rich girls are weeping

    @Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee: I miss Espresso Lube, which is LONG gone, even more than Groovy Lube.

    @Ted Striker: Haha. You have no idea. I used to live about … 1/4 of a mile from Zilker Park, and my dearest wish, every year during ACLfest, was that I WAS DEAD.

  • Lucas Jensen

    I just don’t see the original piece (created mostly by the Daily Swarm, btw) to be in any way negative to ND. If anything it seemed a little wistful that this money was being thrown around at SXSW, but no one could save ND, which is a real shame.

    I also wonder what kind of point of this “hoax” would be.

  • heyzeus

    @the rich girls are weeping:

    Sadly, Capital Brasserie closed within the last year. They had a damned fine burger.

  • Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @heyzeus: Better than Casino El Camino?

  • the rich girls are weeping

    @heyzeus: Damn. Well, considering we almost walked a $300 check there the last time we ate there due to the HIDEOUS service, I guess that’s not surprising, really.