Local band continues with house show despite SXSW cancellation

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kate Mulligan | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: This story is part of The Daily Texan’s coverage of how coronavirus concerns are affecting UT-Austin. Read the rest of our coverage here.

The news of SXSW’s cancellation is not stopping local band Hall Johnson from going through with their unofficial showcase March 17.  

“One of the motivations we had to keep it going is that there is a lot of hard work put into it,” lead singer Milo Cortese said. “We think we can still make it something special.”

Still, guitarist Trevor Stovall said they want to be responsible in handling the recent concerns with COVID-19 and will follow the lead of other venues throwing unofficial showcases and make decisions based on that. 

“If the situation continues to get worse and there’s people in Austin that do get it, then we will go from there,” Stovall said. “But as far as we know, we are planning to go full steam ahead (with the show).” 

The band had both nationally and locally touring bands set to perform at their show. However, when the news of the cancellation broke, they lost two of their nationally touring headliners, Kevin Krauter and Spendtime Palace, and a few other bands. 

“Obviously they dropped because of the cancellation, and they’re not playing any official showcases, so it just financially doesn’t make sense for them to come down (to Austin and play an unofficial show),” Cortese said. 

Cortese and the band said they are disappointed about the cancellation of SXSW, but they think it will be a good opportunity for smaller, local bands to get more attention at unofficial shows like theirs. Additionally, they were able to add other bands that originally had scheduling conflicts because of SXSW shows. 

“In a weird way, it might be good,” Cortese said. “Everybody (will be) listening to smaller and local bands.”

While recent issues concerning COVID-19 play a role in attendance for the show, Stovall said the band will still donate any money made from entry fees to Planned Parenthood, and there is no limit for how much they will give. 

“Doing it for a good cause is very important to me,” Stovall said. “We have a platform as a band to do good things, and if we were to break up tomorrow, I’d rather us say we’ve done cool and important things and helped people out than made 'X' amount of money and played 'X' amount of shows.”

Drummer Logan Kruprovage said he is concerned for low attendance at the show, but the band plans to take safety precautions such as having hand sanitizer bottles around the house. 

“We’re listening to what the city has to say,” Kupovage said. “We’re just trying to make sure everyone will be safe because that’s important to us.”