Grulke Prize®

Brent GrulkeThe Prize, awarded in three categories, was developed in honor of our friend and colleague Creative Director Brent Grulke, who passed away on August 13, 2012.

Brent Grulke had a lengthy career in many aspects of the music industry from music editor at the Austin Chronicle to sound engineer or tour manager for many Austin bands as well as production and sound engineer in clubs in San Francisco. He later moved to Los Angeles to become the manager at Spindletop Records which eventually led him back to Austin where he was the longtime Creative Director of the SXSW Music Festival.

Brent's love of music and the spirit of the festival is reflected in the three Prize categories: Developing US Act, Developing Non-US Act and Career Act.

The Developing Act Prize is for artists who are breaking new ground with their creativity and show the most promise in achieving their career goals. The Career Act Prize is for an established artist who appeared at SXSW to reinvent themselves or launch an important new project.

SXSW 2014 Grulke Prize Winners

Developing US Act - Future Islands

Future Islands

"This was our first trip to SXSW, and it was an awesome experience for us. It was great to meet and see so many amazing bands. It's an honor to receive the Grulke Prize amongst all the other talented and deserving groups who performed this year."

-frontman Samuel T. Herring


Developing Non-US Act - The Strypes

The Strypes

"Winning the award took us completely unawares. We didn’t expect to pick up any sort of awards at all as it was our first time playing there, and to have made a dent in the festival at all took us quite by surprise."

-bassist Pete O'Hanlon


Career Act - Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn

"I never met Brent Grulke, but he seems to have been well-loved and sounds like an interesting guy. We had some highs and lows at SXSW [this year] but winning this prize was totally unexpected."

-Damon Albarn


SXSW 2013 Grulke Prize Winners

Developing US Act: Haim
Developing Non-US Act: CHVRCHES
Career Act: The Flaming Lips

Photo Credits, from top:
Brent Grulke, 1961-2012
Future Islands, photo courtesy of the artist
The Strypes, photo courtesy of the artist
Damon Albarn, photo by Linda Brownlee