Reliably Austin
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

SXSW Music Creative Director Passes Away

Photo by KUT News

The Creative Director for South by Southwest Music has died. Brent Grulke died this morning from surgical complications.

Grulke had worked at SXSW since its launch in 1987. He became the music festival's creative director in 1994.

In a 2005 interview with KUT's Jennifer Stayton, Grulke explained the best way to enjoy SXSW and not feel intimidated by the festivals mammoth lineup of bands.

"I always tell people that if there are a couple things that they really want to see - just find a couple of things that you really want to see," he said. 

"And then just go and do those shows and count on that. But other than that…be prepared to improvise. Be a jazz musician. Follow your nose. Listen what you hear from the streets and just wonder in. There's a lot of bands that you don't know and I promise you that you're going to like a lot of them."

KUT DJ, Jody Denberg was a long-time friend of Grulke. He says the questions of what's next for SXSW Music are expected - but his focus now is on the loss of a friend.

"It's a loss on a personal level," Denberg said. "How it manifests on a larger level for SXSW - that will remain to be seen. There's so many passionate people there as well. I'm sure they're going to carry the torch as high as Brent would want them to."

Brent Grulke was 52 years old.

Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.