Ray shuts down show for South by Southwest music festival
- Last Updated: 3:43 PM, March 15, 2012
- Posted: 11:23 PM, March 14, 2012
Rachael Ray takes three vacations a year: to celebrate Christmas, mark her September wedding anniversary and attend the mega music and film festival, South By Southwest.
With production on her daytime talk show, “Rachael Ray,” dark this week while she plans upcoming episodes, Ray is preparing to head down to Austin, Texas for SXSW, where she’ll be throwing her fifth annual Rachael Ray Feedback party on Saturday.
“It’s like my second Christmas,” Ray says of the nearly six-hour food and music bonanza she’s hosting at Stubb’s this weekend.
“I look forward to it for months, and I worry about what food I’m going to make every year.
“I write all of my shows and columns for the magazine [Every Day With Rachael Ray], but I really worry about the food here more than anything else I write, because I want there to be something for everybody” to eat at the party, she admits.
While Ray might be the arbiter of good-tasting food, thanks to her work on the Food Network, the Cooking Channel and her talk show, she says that she’s not looking to endorse or put her seal of approval on any of the bands that are featured during her SXSW Feedback event.
(This year’s line-up includes Train, The Heavy, Spank Rock, Of Monsters and Men, Bob Schneider and The Cringe — fronted by Ray’s husband, John Cusimano — playing with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame.)
“We invite people that we enjoy listening to,” Ray says. “I don’t think that any of these bands, big or small, are looking for anybody’s stamp [of approval], they’re just really good acts that are trying to get seen as much as possible during the festival.”
Still, it’s true that over the years, Ray has managed to snag up-and-comers — like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Fitz and the Tantrums — for Feedback, that’ve turned into indie-scene stars.
“That’s the whole fun of going [to SXSW] every year,” Ray says. “There’s a couple bands that just click with people and then a few months later, you hear them everywhere.”
Aside from the bands playing her own event, Ray says that one act she’d really like to check out this year is Alabama Shakes.
Her usual SXSW concert MO is to “go down into the [photographer] pit and take amateur, very bad photographs and run back and forth between stages.” Fans of Ray’s Food Network and Cooking Channel series might not suspect that she’s a big indie music buff, but the truth is that Ray has a long history with the genre.
She’s “always been into indie films and music,” she says, passions she shares with Cusimano. (When they met, he was negotiating distribution contracts for indie movies.)
Attending music and film festivals is “something we’ve done as a hobby for the 11 years we’ve been together,” she says.
But, Ray admits, she’s more than happy to be best known for her association with food.
“That’s how I make my living, that’s certainly what I’m best at,” she says.
“It’s not like I’m some closet musician — although my dream second job would be something like backup drummer for the Foo Fighters.”