South By Southwest is not what it used to be. That is undeniable. Some people say you can chart out how it’s gone from indie showcase to corporate sponsorship orgy, and that the exact tipping point was when Doritos constructed a 56-foot vending machine stage in 2012. Those people would probably be right. This year, in a move that makes total sense when you think about her purposeful conflation of art, pop and commerce, Lady Gaga was gunning to play on said Doritos stage. However, in a move that makes even more sense, Austin’s Music And Entertainment division nixed the idea, according to Austin 360.
She’s just too big a name for that venue, which is essentially a parking lot in the middle of the city, so the throngs of people would be unmanageable. The decision was made based on public safety concerns, and the organization said a show hosting a star of Gaga’s caliber would require “the necessary permanent infrastructure.”
Of course, big stars are no stranger to the festival, so the capability is there. Prince and Justin Timberlake performed there last year, and this year iTunes Fest is bringing the likes of Coldplay, Imagine Dragons and freaking Pitbull. If Gaga is serious about bringing artRAVE to Austin, she’ll have to ditch her elaborate plans to come out of a giant snack machine dressed as an avant garde tortilla chip as a commentary on the oxymoronic nature of Cool Ranch, a chip full of spice yet described as cool. Or whatever.