Red Gorilla Music Festival was started back in 2002 by Bryan Waymire as a way for bands that weren’t invited to play SXSW to get a chance to be a apart of this huge music week. Even though Red Gorilla isn’t an official part of SXSW, the events they put on always pack out venues and feature some of the greatest up and coming talent in the industry. The best perk is: the events are absolutely FREE.
“I was managing his band at the time and they didn’t get in to play SXSW, so we just decided to throw a party. It didn’t even start out as a music festival, it was just four bands that just wanted a place to play. The next year more bands had heard about the party and asked if we would add them to the show so we were like, ‘well, I guess we have to do another show’. The next year we had twelve bands, the third year we had 27 bands, and the fourth year it sort of got out of control. We had 125-ish bands. At that point, we knew we had to rebrand it and call it something. Chris, my business partner, and myself named in Red Gorilla that next year, in which we had about 225 bands. Since then it’s fluxuated between 350 and 520 artists each year. This year we have a whopping 452!”
The Material at Red Gorilla Music Festival 2013
“We are not an official part of SXSW so all of our events are absolutely free and open to the public. We don’t require tickets, badges, or wristbands. Everyone’s a VIP at Red Gorilla. We do have eight stages, two of them are all ages. We don’t normally do that, this is our first year actually catering to all ages. Our all ages venues are actually on 6th street, so it’s all here. ”
“We actually have done festivals other than SXSW. We’ve done Indie Week in Canada, Hang Out Fest, and a few others. Those festivals have actually invited us to be a part of their events, whereas we just sort of started this so we have never been invited into SXSW at all and that’s okay because we want to keep our events free. ”
“We have worked with Andrew W.K., Family Force Five, Nappy Roots, The Alternate Routes, the list is very long. We have all different types of artists at our festivals. We actually booked Macklemore this year. It’s so awesome because all of our venues are packed every night and the bands are getting such great exposure, which is really what it’s all about for me. This is really a labor of love to help the bands out more than anything. ”
write up and photos by Rachel Martin// interview with Bryan Waymire// Big Picture Media Press Day// SXSW 2013