Friends, Colleagues Remember SXSW's Brent Grulke

BrentGrulke Aug15.jpg
Photo by John Anderson
Rewind: Brent Grulke, SXSW Music Creative Director, Dies of Heart Attack

Tuesday afternoon, SXSW staff began posting testimonials to their late friend and colleague, Brent Grulke, who had been SXSW Music's Creative Director from 1994 until he died after suffering a heart attack Monday morning in Austin.

In our time working for the Austin Chronicle off and on (mostly on) between 1994 and 2007, Rocks Off grew to know, like and respect Grulke, as did our former Chronicle colleague and now Dallas Observer Music Editor Audra Schroeder, who wrote a nice little tribute to Grulke Tuesday.

As many deaths do, Grulke's came completely out of nowhere, and many people still seem completely stunned. Outside his immediate survivors (he leaves a wife, son and two brothers), the people grieving hardest for Grulke, who was 52, are the people he worked with. He worked closely with all of them, it seems like, and their tributes poured into SXSW's Web site by the paragraph Tuesday.

Roland Swenson, SXSW Managing Director: 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.

Mike Shea, SXSW Executive Director: Brent Grulke was supposed to be the last man standing. The smiling guy with a glass in his hand and a story spilling from his lips.

Scott Wilcox, SXSW Director of Technology: Brent celebrated the music multiverse by bringing so many bands onto so many stages to play so many songs -- always bigger, always better, never enough, always more. We are so sad to not have more of you, Brent.

Christian Mella, SXSW Staff: As a member of SXSW Senior Management, he was down to earth, approachable, respectful, kind and passionate about music and all things SXSW. Sometimes people with this much history in a worldwide popular event, holding the position that they do, are not like I just explained.

But Brent was different. He was as unique and amazing as all the eclectic and life-changing bands he brought in for SXSW.

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