Springsteen to Deliver SXSW Keynote
It was an extremely well-kept secret (considering how poorly such secrets are generally kept around these parts): this morning, South by Southwest revealed that the keynote speaker for the 2012 music conference will be Bruce Springsteen. The reaction has been nearly universal.
“Oh my gosh!” said a clearly startled Ann Powers, a music critic for NPR and contributor to the Los Angeles Times.
“After the death of Clarence Clemons, it marks a new chapter, so doing something like this which is an event where he can sort of assess his career makes tons of sense,” Powers said.
Past SXSW keynote speakers have included Pete Townsend, Robert Plant, Neil Young and Lou Reed.
Springsteen has a few local ties; he and Austin musician Alejandro Escovedo share management, and they’ve shared the stage a few times as well. In fact, Lynne Margolis, contributing editor to the Springsteen encyclopedia The Ties that Bind, says Springsteen’s decision may reflect a certain comfort level with Austin itself.
“You know, he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t walk around with security guards,” Margolis said. “He just goes where he wants and does what he wants. And I’d like to think that he feels like the music industry at large, and Austin in particular, will appreciate what he has to say and just wants to come pay us a visit.”
No word on whether Springsteen will perform while in town; we’ll keep you posted.