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Number of SXSW bands down slightly this year

Deborah Sengupta

Editor’s note: This article was originally published February 25, 2014

After years of growth, the South by Southwest Music Festival might be beginning to contract. Though the number of festival registrants for this year is up, the number of showcasing acts is down slightly. Ten years ago, in 2004, the festival hosted 1,279 bands. Last year that number was 2,278. According to festival general manager James Minor, on Saturday the number of 2014 bands was hovering around 2,100. Minor estimates that the final tally will fall just short of last year’s total, and that’s fine by him.

“We’re trying to use a fewer amount of venues and really tighten the programming so it looks really good,” Minor said over coffee near SXSW’s downtown office. Like most SXSW staffers and volunteers, Minor has been working an insane amount of hours during the festival’s crunch time. He admitted to falling asleep at his keyboard the night before.

We chatted about a few changes and new developments in the work for this year’s fest. You can read more about that here. (paywall)

Minor also shared a few acts that he’s looking forward to at SXSW 2014.

Kirin J Callinan. “He’s kind of like this modern day David Bowie. Electronic, but sometimes it’s just him playing the guitar. He’s an incredible performer and very weird.”

The Mary Onettes. “They’re a Swedish band, kind of a cross between Echo and the Bunnymen and the Cure. They’re one of my favorite bands.”

Gary Numan. “I think he will be great.”

London Grammar. “They have a female singer with a beautiful voice. They kind of seem like the big breakthrough band already.”