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


UPDATE: 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]

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