Note: the following article was written by Manny Escamilla of 956 Entertainment. It's got some good points. It was originally published on his MySpace Blog. - myspace.com/metalmanny01.
SXSW Week in Austin, Texas
As most of you know, the deadline for SXSW submission was November 17th. Good luck to those bands that had an opportunity to submitted. For those bands who are not familiar with SXSW (are you living under a rock?), this is the largest music festival in the country. Held in Austin, Texas annually during March (18th - 22nd), the festival draws industry reps from across the US and overseas. The vast array of industry folks include major and indie label reps, management firms, booking agencies, gear/energy drink/liquor/clothing sponsors, media reps (radio, internet & print media), studio reps, producers, promoters, etc. Basically, if they are directly or indirectly related to the music industry, you will most likely find them in Austin that particular week. Since the majority of the music industry has migrated to this event, its an excellent opportunity for bands and solo artists to network and promote themselves.
For those bands who did not submit for SXSW, your best bet to showcase your material during this event will be through independent festivals. While these festivals are not associated with SXSW, they run concurrently with SXSW. Moreover, many of these promoters also use cool venues along the 6th Street/downtown area to showcase their talent, where the largest draws are concentrated.
Keep in mind that if your band is accepted to a SXSW sanctioned-event, you will not be able to participate in ANY of these indie festivals. Seems unfair, but SXSW prohibits bands from partaking in a 'competitor' event.
Some quick suggestions for bands to prepare for SXSW week:
- Take lots of studio-quality demos to hand out - make sure these copies are professionally-produced with all your contact info clearly noted.
- Ensure your band has an updated EPK (sonicbids.com is a good choice) for quick reference. I do NOT recommend handing out bulky hard copies, as it makes it difficult for industry reps to carry all these material. I favor handing out our business cards, then following with an EPK the following week.
- Book hotels in advance - If you are going to need a hotel, make sure to book NOW. The city and surrounding area sells quickly.
- Bring lots of business cards to hand out. You can order 250 FREE from Vistaprint.com
- If you secure a showcase (whether it's a SXSW or indie show), make sure to promote your show! Show up at least a day early and flyer your show, invite industry reps to your show, etc. Showcases are hard to come by, so make the most out of your opportunity!
- Even if you do not have a showcase, make an effort to have some presence in Austin during this week. Networking with other artists and industry reps is equally important. You may be surprised who you meet!
In the coming days, I will follow up to this BLOG and recommend some cool indie festivals to those bands eager to secure a showcase. So, keep your eyes posted here!
DISCLAIMER: I am not associated with SXSW in any shape or form; however, i've been attending this festival for over 10 years now and am simply sharing some of the things i've picked up along the way!
(Again... to follow his blogs... join his MySpace - myspace.com/metalmanny01)