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Former Folk Alliance leader and SXSW co-founder Louis Meyers dies

Louis Meyers was executive director of the Folk Alliance International. He stopped by The Folk Store, 509 Delaware St., in 2014.
Louis Meyers was executive director of the Folk Alliance International. He stopped by The Folk Store, 509 Delaware St., in 2014. kmyers@kcstar.com

Louis Meyers, former director of Folk Alliance International and one of the founders of the South by Southwest music and media conference, has died, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The Statesman said initial reports were that Meyers died of a heart attack. Meyers was SXSW’s primary music booker until selling his share in the event after the 1994 conference, the Statesman reported.

Meyers lived overseas after SXSW but returned to the U.S. to become director of Folk Alliance International, an annual convention in Kansas City. He left that position in 2014 and moved back to Austin, where he was managing singer-songwriter Sam Baker.

Meyers was working on a TV project about Baker and had planned to be in Kansas City in April, he told The Star recently. Meyers said in 2014 that the Folk Alliance chose Kansas City for its annual conference for a variety of reasons.

“The quality of life, the cost of living and doing business,” he said. “The general forward progress of Kansas City was impressive. There are a lot of people doing things to make the city better every day.

“Plus, it’s in the middle of the country in a place that understands roots music. If the local roots music scene isn’t quite strong, the regional scene is, with Winfield and Branson. There’s a lot of understanding around here of what we do musically and a lot of good players.”

Meyers also recently had helped Missouri band The HillBenders record a bluegrass version of The Who’s “Tommy” album.

David Frese is The Star’s arts editor. He can be reached at dfrese@kcstar.com. Twitter: @DavidFrese.

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