News & Politics

DC Will Spend Nearly $500,000 on a Venue at South By Southwest. So We Scheduled the Music.

City officials plan to spend five days in Austin wooing festival-goers. Here are the musical acts they should bring.

District officials started making pilgramages to the technology portion of the annual South by Southwest music-film-tech hullaballoo in Austin, Texas, in 2013 in hopes of enticing young, entreprenurial spirits to give up the excitement of Silicon Valley for the nation’s capital. The first two years’ visits amounted to little more than meet-and-greets between then-Mayor Vince Gray and tech-industry types, and a few cocktail parties.

Not in 2015, though. This year, the Washington Post reported over the weekend, the District is going HAM on South by Southwest, with the city government set to plunk down nearly half a million dollars on converting a downtown Austin restaurant into a round-the-clock venue for networking and partying. Per Steven Overly’s story:

More than half the budget would be used to convert a restaurant near Austin’s convention center into a “We DC” lounge and work space during the day, and a party venue for attendees to socialize at night. The rental and food costs would be $251,500 over five days.

But what’s a South by Southwest venue without live music? If Mayor Muriel Bowser and her team want the techies to hobnob under the “We DC” banner, they’ll have to book some acts to compete with the likes of Stubb’s and Mohawk. We put it to local music journalist Valerie Paschall, who curated the “DC Does Texas” show at South By Southwest from 2008 to 2014, to schedule five full days of Washington acts to keep the “We DC” house going. This is, of course, a fantasy lineup, but we gave Paschall a couple rules to keep it grounded in reality:

  1. No Fugazi reunions.
  2. Other reunions are OK.

Paschall’s schedule runs the gamut of DC genres, from hardcore to go-go to whatever it is Drop Electric does. It also features a somewhat liberal definition of “DC band.” For example, Ted Leo has not lived here in many years, but the Pharmacists formed in Washington, so he’s fair game. (The Both, his duo with Aimee Mann, is not.) Here are the acts DC should bring to Texas this year:

Friday, March 13

1 PM: Tereu Tereu
2 PM: Title Tracks
3 PM: Two Inch Astronaut
4 PM: The Black Sparks
5 PM: The Effects
6 PM: Laughing Man
7 PM: Puff Pieces
8 PM: Foul Swoops
9 PM: Neonates
10 PM: Priests
11 PM: Ex Hex
12 AM: The Dismemberment Plan
1 AM: Jawbox

Saturday, March 14

1 PM: Cigarette
2 PM: Marian McLaughlin
3 PM: The Caribbean
4 PM: More Humans
5 PM: Volta Bureau
6 PM: Jen Lasher
7 PM: Nadastrom
8 PM: Raheem DeVaughn
9 PM: Diamond District
10 PM: Shy Glizzy
11 PM: Fat Trel
12 AM: Thievery Corporation
1 AM: Trouble Funk

Sunday, March 15

1 PM: Luke Stewart
2 PM: Chester Hawkins
3 PM: Harness Flux
4 PM: Olivia Neutron John
5 PM: Br’er
6 PM: Pree
7 PM: Paperhaus
8 PM: Typefighter
9 PM: Lemuria
11 PM: Bluebrain
12 AM: Protect-U
1 AM: Beautiful Swimmers

Monday, March 16

1 PM: Lowercase Letters
2 PM: Art Sorority For Girls
3 PM: Sneaks
4 PM: Kali Uchis
5 PM: Coup Sauvage and the Snips
6 PM: Kid Congo Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds
7 PM: Ted Leo
8 PM: The Make-Up
9 PM: Cornel West Theory
10 PM: Flex Mathews
11 PM: Kelow
12 AM: Black Cobain
1 AM: Wale

Tuesday, March 17

1 PM: Insect Factory
2 PM: Anthony Pirog & Janel Leppin
3 PM: Hand Grenade Job
4 PM: Citadel
5 PM: Deathfix
6 PM: Magrudergrind
7 PM: Tone
8 PM: Edsel
9 PM: Drop Electric
10 PM: Black Clouds
11 PM: Pig Destroyer
12 AM: Clutch
1 AM: Frodus

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.