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Technology & Entrepreneurship

San Antonio Tech Fronts Botánica Music Fest


It might seem strange that a bunch of San Antonio Tech names -- Graham Weston, Lew Moorman, Dirk Elmendorf, etc -- are fronting the money for a new music festival. But Botánica Music Festival Co-founder David Heard says they see it as celebrating San Antonio as well as investing in millennial talent.

He recounted a story where he recently tried to recruit a 22-year-old tech worker from Atlanta.

"She got off the plane and she asked two questions," says Heard, "Where is your IKEA, and where is your major music fest that I should put on my calendar?"

According to the Urban Land Institute, San Antonio saw a 5.5 percent increase in millennial citizens between 2010-2015, something that tech employers want to see accelerate.

Organizers hope Botánica is one part of the answer to that.

"Other cities have clearly benefited from large, locally owned mainstream music fests, wrote Rackspace Founder Graham Weston. "Our hope is that Botánica can be that kind of festival for San Antonio."

In a city that prides itself on being a good family town and citizens sporting "Keep San Antonio Lame" t-shirts, many think the community is coming late to the party of encouraging youth culture oriented events.

EDM trio Major Lazer will headline the festival. Organizers paid north of $130,000 to secure them. According to Pollstar, the group has an average gross of over $270,000 and more than 7,000 average tickets sold.  They are one of 40 bands Botanica estimates it will have, including Alessia Cara and Logic.

Music festivals nationwide have attracted as many as 32 million people, half of which were millennials says Billboard. But these numbers by no means guarantee a production will be a success. Weather, poor money management, and technical difficulties sideline multiple festivals a year. Even the venerable Bonnaroo -- now 15 years old -- had one of its worst turnouts in 2016, down 38 percent in ticket sales.

One thing is for sure, San Antonio's eyes and ears will be open come next March 3 and 4, to see what happens with Botánica.