Between the endless lines, corporate sponsors, and wallet-sucking airfares, South by Southwest Music
is no longer the indie haven it once was. While attendance shows no signs of waning when the festivities kick off this week, a handful of alternative festivals hoping to siphon off devoted fans with better weather, cheaper tickets, or, in one case, snow have sprung up.
Georgia’s Savannah Stopover
aims to please local music fans that usually have to travel to Atlanta or Athens for shows, as well as bands that want to break up the trip to Austin. The festival, which just completed its second now-annual run, occurs the week before SXSW and is in many ways its opposite: there are no gifting suites, arena-caliber bands, or exorbitant wristband fees. What it does offer up in spades is Southern hospitality. In addition to communal dinners, welcome bags filled with local treats, and shows that are tailored to complement each band’s sound, about 90% of participating musicians reside with locals who volunteer to be hosts
The original anti-SXSW festivals took place in Mexico, with both Festival Nrmal
luring music fans south of the border to San Pedro Garza García
. But this year, they joined forces, as Festival Nrmal featured a MtyMx-curated stage
. One clear distinction of this festival is its proud display of Mexican heritage, from the predominantly Spanish-language website to the 50-plus band lineup, which mixed local talent in with northern-hailing bands like Grimes, Girls, and Javelin. The March 10th date left just enough time for attendees to head up to Austin for this week’s festivities—or, if they’re truly over SXSW, to enjoy a few days in Monterrey.
SnowBall Music Festival:
Anyone who gets sweaty just thinking about Texas will find solace in Colorado’s SnowBall Music Festival
, a three-day event held on the snowy slopes of Nottingham Park
in Vail Valley. While this year’s headliners were familiar to regular concert-goers—among them, TV on the Radio, Major Lazer, and Rusko—the dress code of parkas, winter boots, and thick gloves was less so. (Once the sun set, though, all after-hours shows were held indoors.) Attendees could take a break from the festivities to go skiing
, but they were also given the option of non-stop partying, with late-night events
scheduled throughout the weekend.