I worked in Austin radio stations for most of the 90s & when it came time for the annual South By Southwest Music Festival, we stayed as far away from it as possible.  Why?  It's simple.  In those days the only music genres represented in the speaking & performing line-ups were Alternative & Triple-A (Adult Album Alternative).  Singers & bands who made their bones during the 60s-70s-&-80s, the Classic Rock era, were considered dinosaurs, not welcome to be part of the hip, new Austin music scene SXSW aligned itself with.

More recently, as the Festival has grown & expanded to include Hip-Hop, Pop, & even other media outlets such as Film, somebody finally wised up & realized the "more veteran" musicians could actually offer insights/perspectives that up-and-comers could learn from.

Plus, the presence of actual "big names" on the marquee could only help attract more paying customers to the event!  Case in point:  the three participating rock icons in this year's event are already enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame...

Fleetwood Mac co-founder Mick Fleetwood was a guest speaker on Wednesday, & told the SXSW gathering he "still has a passion for the arts" according to this CNN report.  Mick's also a good businessman, so he used the Festival forum to begin promoting his new book that will be published in September. "Love That Burns:  A Chronicle Of Fleetwood Mac Volume One:  1967-1974" is all about the "first era" of the band, when Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Peter Green, & then others like Christine McVie & Bob Welch, were creating the foundation of Fleetwood Mac's legacy.

We noted in a previous blog that Sammy Hagar was taking advantage of his Thursday Festival speaking appearance to shoot an episode of "Rock & Roll Road Trip with Sammy Hagar" for AXStv on the Austin streets, along with stoking the rumor fires about a possible Van Halen/Hagar reunion tour.

Earlier in the week, The Pretenders, currently touring with Steve Nicks, also made a trip in to play Austin City Limits as part of the SXSW concert line-up.  Chrissie Hynde led her band through a 90-minute, 18-song set on Monday night.  It was the first show taped for what will be ACL's 43rd tv season this Fall.

My hat's off to the Festival organizers for finally getting it right.  I just wish they'd figured it out back when I lived there & could've more easily taken it all in up close.

Getty Images, ScottNewton