"It's crazy," Rachael Ray said of her eighth annual Feedback Party at South By Southwest. "It's like a double Christmas."
ETonline was with the TV host and chef at this year's Ray-hosted event, where fans braved the rain for a full afternoon of live music, free food and plenty of drinks at Stubb's BBQ in Austin.
Ray has become something of a tastemaker at the annual music fest, where she's previously played host to then-little known bands like Imagine Dragons, Of Monsters and Men, The Civil Wars, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. This year, ESMZ made their triumphant return to the Feedback Party for the first time since 2009.
"It's just amazing and we have such an eclectic lineup this year," Ray said. Among the artists on the 2015 docket were Cody Simpson, Raekwon, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, Delta Spirit, JEFF The Brotherhood, The Districts, Surfer Blood, Reptar, Bob Schneider, Banditos, Hippo Campus and Ray's husband's band, The Cringe.
So how does she continue to set such an on-point lineup? Ray revealed that she and her team have enlisted a method of "blind" listening throughout the year, sending each other music samplings with absolutely no names or information attached. "We pick what we like. We pick what we think people will dig," she said.
"I'm always so proud that we have a little bit of something for every type of music lover," Ray added. "It makes me want to cry, but I'm too busy smiling."
But seriously, you've never seen anyone as excited about indie music as Ray was on Saturday. Watch the video above for proof.
While fans turn up for the live performances, Ray's menu is also an undeniable attraction. This year, she served up "Blue Moon Beer-Brined Smoked BBQ Chicken Hard Shell Tacos with The Works," "Grilled Corn Off the Cobb with Chipotle Cream," "SXHD...in a Blanket" (South by Hot Dogs) and "Spicy Beef Sliders with Barbecued Onions on a King's Hawaiian Bun." Blue Moon was also on hand sampling its brand new seasonal beers.
"People stand in line even in the rain for hours just to come and hang with us," Ray mused. "I don't want them to feel like they're at a show where they're not welcome, or they're getting ripped off with $12 for a bottle of water and no toilet. I want people to feel like they're in our backyard."