It happens every year: an errant rumor turns Austin and SXSW upside down for a few hours or even days, leading to mass hysteria, mild apathy, and sometimes sadness. At my first SXSW in 2001, I got a "hot tip" that the Beastie Boys were going to join Mix Master Mike at La Zona Rosa for a secret show, so of course being the 17-year-old I was at the time, I walked from the UT campus all the way to the venue, only to be saddened to see that no one was there at all.
I have covered the festival for Rocks Off every year since 2008, and most times the rumors prove semi-true, albeit a bit different than you hoped. That rumor about Metallica playing Stubb's in 2009? Totally happened, if only for a dozen songs. It wasn't that big of a surprise, unless you didn't have the Internet in 2009.
And Jack White really was hanging around Austin last year, even playing a quick pop-up gig at the Third Man Records store at Frank. Of course, I was in traffic reading about it on Twitter coming back from the Alex Jones day show at Spider House. Of course.
This year there are already a few rumors floating around the Internets and social media: Secret shows and reunions that only a few people know about, and party guests and celebrity appearances that will blow your skirt up. One year I used a Porta Potty after none other than Kirsten Dunst at a day party where I saw Amy Winehouse perform.
Pretty swank, huh? Last I checked, my blood is clean.
We collected the best rumors from around the Web to present to you. Keep in mind that only one of these are inevitably and undeniably true. Which one do you think it is? It can't be the most rational one, right?
"I heard from my best friend's cousin in El Paso that At The Drive-In is playing Relationship Of Command in it's entirety inside the ballroom at the Driskill to close out the festival on Saturday night..."
"I saw Lana Del Rey at the American Apparel near the UT campus and she told me she wasn't playing the festival this year, but she did hand me my change and give me my receipt and smiled at me."
"Oh yeah, a buddy who overheard some guys with interactive badges talking at Waterloo Records says that Jack White is supposed to bring Fiona Apple onstage during his Third Man showcase to play drums on some White Stripes songs."
"The Insane Clown Posse rented out the pool at the Hilton Garden Inn to fill it with grape Faygo for a secret show on Thursday night. You have to have a hatchet man tattoo to even get in. Me and a buddy are going to get ours on the way to Austin."
"Bruce Springsteen's secret show this week is really just going to be outside the Torchy's off South First because he's really into their Trailer Park taco right now and the weather is supposed to be nice. Weird, huh? When that drunk homeless guy outside the bike shop told me that I almost didn't believe him."
"You can get a free platinum music badge if you show up to the convention center and tell the help desk that you are in a band with the words 'the,' 'black' or 'gold' in your name."
"Shhhh, listen: A bunch of unsigned rappers are giving out promo discs you will just throw in the garbage at your hotel. They are all horrible, and most of them just feature badly dubbed versions of Puff Daddy & the Family's No Way Out album."
"MySpace is announcing a merger with Friendster on Friday morning and one of the dudes from The Calling is playing a free acoustic show outside the Wendy's on Sixth with free Fruitopia and a sandwich tray and everything. Did you get my RSVP email yet? Hurry up it's almost full!"
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"You didn't hear it from me, and I might lose my job if you tell anyone I told you this, but South By is moving to Houston in two years and merging with RodeoHouston and it's all going be inside the Astrodome and Reliant Stadium and the artist showcases will be inside the restrooms."
"A buddy told me that most bands and musicians that play South By don't realize that playing the festival isn't the key to getting discovered by 'the man' or a label, and that hard work, great songs, a can-do personality, devotion to your craft, and touring is what really gets you success in the music industry. He also said that bands who don't get accepted to play should shut up and never stop playing music. The dude must have been high or some shit."