Friday’s news that South by Southwest co-founder Louis Meyers, the event’s music festival director from 1987 to 1994, had died of a heart attack at age 60 sparked an outpouring of sentiment from those who knew him locally as well as many who had come in contact with him around the country and beyond.
Below is a sampling of quotes sent to us via email and collected from posts on social media. SXSW co-founder Nick Barbaro also wrote about Meyers on the SXSW website.
A family burial for Meyers takes place Monday. On Wednesday, Threadgill’s will host a Meyers tribute showcase from noon to 7 p.m. featuring a lineup that Meyers had assembled for SXSW. The full lineup is posted at the event’s Facebook event page.
“Louis had music and community at the heart of all his work with Folk Alliance International. He sought and fought to bring more musicians into the folk tent, and worked to enhance the credibility and viability of our organization. We are forever grateful and he is sorely missed by all.” — Aengus Finnan, executive director, Folk Alliance International (Kansas City, Mo.)
“My favorite memory of Louis Meyers goes back to when I was a booking agent in San Antonio (probably 1983 or 1984), and Louis was working at Liberty Lunch as the talent buyer and also managing a reggae band, the Killer Bees. One Friday afternoon I called him to ask about booking the Killer Bees, and I got his recording which said: ‘Hellooo, this is Louis. I’m at the lake. In the meantime, if you have an emergency, you’re on your own.’ There were many times since then when I wished I had the guts to put a message on my own machine that said the same.” — Nancy Fly, Fly Music Services (Austin)
“My last meeting with Louis was during SXSW maybe five years ago. We bumped into each other on Sixth Street, which was crawling with drunken townies. He surveyed the crazed throngs, turned to me, and said, ‘You know, Chris, this isn’t exactly what I envisioned when we started this thing.'” — Chris Morris, music journalist (Los Angeles)
“Oddly enough, Louis was a big early booster of the Austin punk scene in the 80s. In the mid-1980s, when the Ramones needed a last minute opener at their show at the Terrace, he suggested my band the Offenders. When the promoter Jim Ramsey said ‘they can play for free,’ Louis would gave none if it. So he finagled us a $50 guarantee and some of the best memories imaginable spending time with Dee Dee, Johnny and Ritchie backstage. They broke the mold with him.” — Pat Doyle, musician (Austin)
“His contributions to the pop music world were those of a solid craftsman: not big in profile like the New York or Los Angeles moguls, but what he did for SXSW and Folk Alliance and their worlds was huge. All of us in the those genres owe him a big debt, and the obligation to emulate Louis’ contributions to the music.” — Michael Jaworek, the Birchmere (Alexandria, Va.)“I feel it’s also great to mention his Austin Music Network days, before he went to Folk Alliance. A lot of us met him there and it’s where he fought the hardest for local music. He was only there a short while but in good Louis fashion, he changed a lot. He also would always speak highly of that time in his life. … One of his favorite videos was when he did a sing-along to Brittney Spears’ ‘Not Yet a Woman,’ in the voice of Bob Dylan. Some hilarious stuff; we laughed hysterically everytime it was brought up.” — Nadia O’Bryan (Austin)“I’ll never forget 2001, how he gave us young punks at KindaMuzik a chance to be a part of the ‘Music Writing Establishment’ at the A2A festival in Amsterdam. We built the A2A website, we sat on panels, we even had our own booth! To us, this was the real deal, and anything seemed possible in those days.” — Alex Tobin (Amsterdam)“The thing that impressed me most about him was that fact that he got shit done, with the utmost confidence and class. His determination and know how were a step above! His list of accomplishments are immense and although SXSW and Folk Alliance are standouts, it is the countless people he touched, encouraged and inspired that will be his greatest legacy.” — Scott Ward, Strange Brew (Austin)“Louis Meyers was a truly wonderful, sweet, and visionary man. We hung out at many a Folk Alliance, but the memory that’s sticking out to me today is when we met for coffee at Bouldin Creek and he told me about his plans to build a retirement community for musicians — the kind of place where we could all grow old with our own kind, our way. We’d play music together, get bussed out to see great shows, and bring young musicians in to learn from their elders. It was such a great idea. He was full of ’em.” — Charlie Faye, musician (Austin)“Louis Meyers was a Godfather to me. Believing in me, ALWAYS, letting me see my creative ideas to fruition when working together, saving me when I needed saving, always there for me no matter how far away or near he was. I am grateful for the meals we’ve shared over the past year as he returned to the town he loved, for the annual SXSW dinners at Bess’ Bistro when he lived elsewhere and for the 14 years I spent working with him directly.” — Annie McReynolds, former SXSW assistant music festival director (Austin)
“He was a champion, a compadre, a conspirator, and a great couch hang. A visionary. A cheerleader, if with a wonderfully and satisfyingly sarcastic edge. For almost ten years, he has been an encourager to me, and he never made me feel he was too busy to take the time to catch up or to listen or to give advice, even though he probably was actually too busy for any of it.” — Betty Soo, musician (Austin)
Hundreds more remembrances were posted to Meyers’ Facebook page.