Or so says this little news item from a local Austin news station whose headline is "Austin and Nashville, each have what the other wants." Maybe there's something to that. After all, some of us would argue that it's our local musical acts who thrive the farthest from Music Row that have the most to offer, and we'd happily take a little more of Austin's offbeat musical cred, yearly influx of rock industry folks and tons of bands. Meanwhile, Austin gets cool points and a $100 million tourism boost in one week thanks to SXSW, but lacks our music industry infrastructure and our higher concentration of industry-related jobs, apparently the highest in the country:
"What Nashville has is something that Austin seeks: a real infrastructure for the music industry. We have a lot of very talented musicians here, but often times we talk about what we lack and that's infrastructure," Austin's Music Commission Chair Brad Stein said.
First off, the infrastructure doesn't help the majority of our rock artists, though some, like Movement Nashville, have found a way to shop commercial rock and pop efforts out of here, and folks like Kent Marcus and Theory 8 and Infinity Cat and more are increasing our profile every day for non-country fare.
The story quotes our own Jason Moon Wilkins on the subject of Nashville recognizing the plus side of the branding Austin enjoys with SXSW, and though the idea of comparing us to Austin may seem obvious or pointless, our own Next Big Nashville is an increasingly focused attempt at that urban festival dynamic. And yet, in one fell swoop, we're moving back toward what outsiders might expect from us by hosting the Nashville Folk Festival.
I'm curious though: If NBN became a version -- albeit smaller and more manageable -- of SXSW, even one day threatening to overshadow or compete with the country glitz, would you welcome it?