The Grulke Prize

The Grulke 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.

View 2018 Winners

Starcrawler – Photo by Merrick Ales

Starcrawler – Photo by Merrick Ales

About The Grulke Prize


Brent Grulke had a lengthy career in many aspects of the music industry, working as music editor at the Austin Chronicle, sound engineer or tour manager for many Austin bands, and production and sound engineer for 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 U.S. Act, Developing Non-U.S. 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.

Stay tuned for the 2019 winners announcement after the conclusion of the SXSW Conference & Festivals in March.


Developing U.S. Act: Starcrawler

The Grulke Prize winner for Developing U.S. Act is Starcrawler. Hailing from Los Angeles, Starcrawler formed two years ago when lead vocalist Arrow de Wilde first met drummer Austin Smith. Shortly thereafter, guitarist Henri Cash and bassist Tim Franco joined the band. The group is known for their squalling riffs, thundering beats and incendiary performances, fronted by de Wilde’s otherworldly magnetism. The band captivated audiences throughout their performances at this year’s music festival.

Developing Non-U.S. Act: Jade Bird

The Grulke Prize winner for Developing Non-U.S. Act is Jade Bird. Already a recipient of the Reeperbahn Festival Anchor Award, this London-based songwriter took SXSW by storm, charming all who saw her with her clear voice and fetching songs. When she was barely a teenager, she learned to play guitar and started writing her own lyrics, eventually settling into an intense song-a-day pace. Some were good, others better left forgotten, but the process sharpened her chops and shaped her approach to songwriting. Her debut EP, Something American, is out now.

Career Act: Todd Rundgren

The Grulke Prize winner for Career Act is Todd Rundgren. A wizard, a true star — the title of Todd Rundgren’s 1973 solo album aptly sums up the contributions of this multi-faceted artist to state-of-the-art music. As a songwriter, video pioneer, producer, recording artist, computer software developer, conceptualist, and — most recently — interactive artist (re-designated TR-i), Rundgren has made a lasting impact on both the form and content of popular music. His myriad production projects include albums by Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, Meatloaf, XTC, Grand Funk Railroad, and Hall and Oates.


Developing U.S. Act: The Lemon Twigs
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Jain
Career Act: Robyn Hitchcock


Developing U.S. Act: Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Låpsley
Career Act: Iggy Pop


Developing U.S. Act: Leon Bridges
Developing Non-U.S. Act: Courtney Barnett
Career Act: Spoon


Developing U.S. Act: Future Islands
Developing Non-U.S. Act: The Strypes
Career Act: Damon Albarn


Developing U.S. Act: Haim
Developing Non-U.S. Act: CHVRCHES
Career Act: The Flaming Lips

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Music Festival

March 11 – 17, 2019. The SXSW Music Festival is one of the largest and most influential global music events of the year, taking place every March in Austin, Texas – the Live Music Capital of the World.

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