Louis Jay Meyers, one of the four founders of the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in 1987, has died. SXSW co-founder Roland Swenson confirmed the news Friday afternoon.
Meyers was the event’s primary music booker until selling his share in the event after the 1994 conference. In the 1980s, he also was a partner in beloved local venue Liberty Lunch and managed several local bands.
After his SXSW tenure, Meyers lived overseas for many years before returning to the United States to become director of Folk Alliance International, an annual convention in Kansas City. He left that position in 2014 and moved back to Austin, where he was managing local singer-songwriter Sam Baker.
Initial reports were that Meyers died of a heart attack overnight. News began to spread throughout the local music community while most of SXSW’s staff was attending President Obama’s opening keynote of this year’s SXSW Interactive at the Long Center.
Meyers also was an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and producer who recently had helped Missouri band the HillBenders record a bluegrass version of the Who’s “Tommy” album. Two weeks ago, he was a featured guest performer at Christine Albert’s weekly “Mystery Monday” residency at El Mercado Backstage.
We’ll have more on Meyers in the American-Statesman online and in Saturday’s print edition.