According to several sources, including Folk Alliance International Director Aengus Finnan, one of the founders of the SXSW festival in Austin, TX has died, reports the Chicago Tribune. He was 60 years old and the cause of death is believed to be a heart attack.
Meyer served as president of the Folk Alliance International Director until 2014 when he was succeeded by Finnan.
His death occurred on the same day that the 2016 version of SXSW kicks off, marking its 30th anniversary. Meyers founded the event in 1987 with Roland Swenson, Nick Barbaro and Louis Black with the financial help of the Austin Chronicle. Meyers was in charge of booking the bands, sorting through thousands of entrants before arriving at a few hundred of the most important acts to be showcased before the music industry.
In 1994, Meyers sold his interest in the company, citing concerns over the massive growth of the event. Since he left, the event has grown even larger and is now considered the preeminent event in the music industry. In fact, he hoped to keep the event limited to around 500 acts – today SXSW boasts over 2000 artists that hail from 60 different countries. Perhaps the biggest sign of the festival’s enormous impact is the fact that President Barack Obama is in town on opening night to attend a fundraiser on March 11 and will give a keynote speech (as will First Lady Michelle Obama).
After he left SXSW in the 90s, he moved to Amsterdam and then Kansas City, MO where he operated the Folk Store, a music store. Finnan described Meyers as a “musician’s musician.” According to Billboard, he played banjo and toured, recorded, produced or performed with musicians like Jello Biafra, Fastball, Tommy Ramone, Killbilly, The Killer Bees, Willis Alan Ramsey, Mojo Nixon and many more.