Why We'll All Try to See Justin Timberlake at SXSW, and Why That's Completely Wrong

_justintimberlake.jpg
I remember one of the most exciting moments from last year's SXSW. I was walking out of my hotel and I heard the familiar strains of an iconic bassline rumbling across the avenue toward me like the vapor trail of a picnic beckoning to a cartoon wolf. "Wait, is that... Snoop Dogg?" I thought. Bad ass! I walked over to the edge of the outdoor venue, the Cheeze Crisp Boner Water Experience Tent Hut, stood outside the fence, and bobbed my head in time. "Maybe I should try to get in?" I thought. " Who do I know in marketing at Boner Water?"

See also: Forget Justin Timberlake and Destiny's Child -- Timbaland and Pharrell Are Back!

Similar scenarios transpired that night throughout Austin, with everyone from Bruce Fucking Springsteen, to 50 Cent and Eminem, and Lil Wayne anchoring the festival's big name slots. Kanye even made an appearance, although that's probably not so surprising given the sheer number of cameras and microphones on hand. He probably went to sleep the night before and ego-auto-piloted all the way to Texas without even knowing it.

Naturally, the venue was packed for Snoop, and you could feel the excitement in the air. After a song or so, something about it started to feel dirty, like an abnegation of professional responsibility. I said, screw it, and promptly got the hell out of there. I moved along on my way to go stand in a succession of empty bars to watch bands I'd never heard of, and wouldn't end up remembering anyway, play to nobody. And you know what? It was awesome. That's what SXSW is supposed to be about. It's not, but it's supposed to be.

Any moment now it's expected to be confirmed that Justin Timberlake, paragon of get-in-the-van work ethos, will be performing at this year's SXSW. That's after exemplars of small-scale indie ethics Green Day were announced as headliners late last month. This is nothing new for the sprawling festival of course -- Metallica played in 2009! -- and the luster of the independent spirit has long since sleuced off in a body-spray whore's bath of sponsored experiences and corporate influence peddling, but this might finally be the nail in the coffin. Not really for me, because I'm still going either way, but you know what I mean. Not for the festival either -- there's way too much money involved at this point for it to suffer from any sort of backlash from the likes of me; too big to fail isn't just for bankers. But for some reason this feels like an overstep. One pop star too far. There's nothing inherently wrong with Justin Timberlake, mind you. He's pretty amazing, actually. There's also nothing inherently wrong with your ex-girlfriend coming to your wedding, either, but the sideshow tends to take away from what the day is supposed to be about.

See also: Justin Timberlake! Destiny's Child! My Bloody Valentine!: The Week of Triumphant Returns


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
4 comments
BUCKSATAN
BUCKSATAN

You're right.  No one can win in this pop culture world we currently live in; everything is relative.  Give in or shut the fuck up, right?

wakeupjon_
wakeupjon_

right right right, gotcha, but without the big names SXSW wouldn't be BIG. That's why it's BIG. Cause it was small when it was just small acts, and got big when it started to feature big acts.  So by allowing Justin Timberlake to be part of the weeklong event, you're basically telling people its OK to have some fun and listen to good music while listening to literally 14 hours of mediocre or horrible music for the entire week every day.

lukeoneil47
lukeoneil47

@jon.hughes001 Well, I'd normally be the one pointing out music is horrible, but in this case I feel the need to point out that there are, surprisingly, tons of good bands at sxsw you've never heard of!

wakeupjon_
wakeupjon_

@lukeoneil47 @jon.hughes001 completely agree and as someone who has gone/done SXSW, I know it's true. However we're talking about the masses here, and even I get burnt out on going to 14 hours of open-mic-night-styled concerts for seven whole days. I need some big names to re-energize me from all the crap that's being played in between all the good indie stuff. 

Plus even major artists need to rekindle their fanbase and SXSW is the perfect starting point. It really helped relaunch Fiona Apple last year.

Plus, notice how this article is pushing the SXSW brand right now by complaining about Justin Timberlake? Without this blog complaining about Justin Timberlake, there would be one less brand-centric SXSW post. WAKKA WAKKA.

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...