One of the most influential and celebrated music summits in the world South by Southwest has recently lost one of its warriors when SXSW Director Brent Grulke passed away suddenly after suffering a heart attack on the morning of August 13, 2012. Grulke was aged 52 and is survived by his wife, Kristen, and son, Graham, as well as brothers Brad and Brian.
As reported by the LA Times, SXSW Managing Director Roland Swenson posted an open letter, crediting Grulke for the success of the massive musical showcase.
It was Brent who put the music festival in overdrive. His relationships brought in so many of the artists that went on to greater success. And it was Brent who recruited the music staff that carried the work even farther than we dared hope. He was willing to let his staff take charge of their own efforts, and take on huge endeavors under his gentle leadership. He had a lot of faith in people and had the courage to let things happen.
Austin Chronicle Writer Dan Wilson recalls Grulke’s unbridled enthusiasm and undiminished joy for music despite all the service he gave to the music community and industry.
I had the good fortune to win the Bruce Springsteen ticket lottery. I ran into Brent walking out of the Moody. I said I was heading over to the Lil’ Wayne show at the Music Hall. He said he was too and said he would join me.
During our walk over, Brent effused about how great the Springsteen show was … with the excitement and wonderment of a junior high school kid who just attended his first concert… It was midnight and the Creative Director of one of the biggest music events in the world who had been in the business for more than 30 years wasn’t grumpy and complaining, he was fired up about going to see a skateboard-riding dreadlocked rapper half his age. That’s the kind of enthusiasm Brent had for music. It was genuine and it was pure, and it was an undeniable force behind the success of SXSW.
Music Feeds send our thoughts to Grulke’s family and friends.