Brent Grulke, the creative director for SXSW, died of cardiac arrest following oral surgery in Austin yesterday (Augsut 13).
He had worked as a tour manager, sound man and music editor of the Austin Chronicle and begun working on SXSW in 1987 as a stage manager before being promoted to creative director in 1994. Grulke had helped to oversee the festival as it had grew from a regional event to an international institution.
SXSW director and co-founder Roland Swenson paid tribute to Grulke in the following statement: “A lot of Brent’s personality was in SXSW. He was adventurous and knowledgeable and excited about creative people and endeavours. He didn’t like the usual and mundane. He was open-minded enough to know that his taste wasn’t always the most important thing, so he was open to new things.”