Write your fears down on a piece of paper. Fold it into a pirate hat, put it on your head. There, now you're a pirate [with] no fear.

Music submissions now open! | Interactive: March 13-17, 2015 | Film: March 13-21, 2015 | Music: 18-22, 2015 | Austin Weather

Attack of the Late Night Talk Show: The Return

It’s been announced that Jimmy Kimmel Live (it’s not live) is returning to Austin to do five shows during SXSW week, again from the Long Center.

This was a hot ticket last year, I did attend and was underwhelmed. The day could have been better spent checking out bands at day parties or catching a film.

Now we can just wait for the proverbial other shoe to drop when the other Later-Nighters plan their own broadcasts from Austin.

# Posted by Eric on January 14, 2015; Comments Off.
Events & PartiesSXSW

Here Come The Bands (take 3)

The SXSW team have announced the third wave of performers who have showcases at this year’s SXSW Music festival. You can read the full list online at SXSW, but there are a few names I would want to pick up.

Blitzkids (YouTube) are from Nantwich in the UK, and are a good pop/punk band with a nice crunchy sound; New Albany’s Houndmouth (YouTube) return to Austin with a delightful folksy root sound; and Toffee (YouTube) from Taipei, Taiwan, who have a great modern twist on the classic sounds of the Far East.

There’s rather a lot of music to get through, so don’t forget our friends of the parish over at ‘Operation Every Band‘ are going to listen and rank all the showcases to help you through the festival of music.

# Posted by Ewan on January 13, 2015; Comments Off.

SXSW + iTunes Festival: A Look Back

During SXSW 2014 we were treated to the addition of the iTunes Festival which took place at the Moody Theater (which is the current home of Austin City Limits).

The Festival within a Festival brought some big names into town, including Coldplay, Band of Skulls, Capital Cities. Keith Urban, and  Willie Nelson to name a few. I was lucky enough to attend the show with Soundgarden.

It was one of the best concert experiences I have ever had. Line management was exceptional as was security. The lottery for wristbands was nothing if not fair as there was a standby line for anyone willing to wait if wristbanded folks didn’t show.

I was impressed with the venue. They mean it when they say there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The furthest seat was about 75 feet direct line to the stage.

What I loved most about the show was “discovering” Capital Cities. Great sound and a great performance. Discovering new music is what SXSW Music is all about for me, and the iTunes Festival did not disappoint.

I only wish it would return this year, I think it is a welcome improvement to SXSW Music for badgeholders and the general public alike.

# Posted by Eric on January 12, 2015; Comments Off.
Events & PartiesMusicSXSW

No more giant vending machines in Austin?

Okay, over the festive period we missed this one, but the SXSW team has confirmed to the press that Doritos will not be involved at this year’s SXSW.

That means no giant vending machine, no demands to do silly viral videos for tickets, and no great big beacon of commercial sponsors towering over Sixth Street and downtown Austin. Which is probably for the best.

# Posted by Ewan on January 12, 2015; Comments Off.
Austin LifeEvents & Parties

SXSW Film Announces Opening Night Film

Well the wait is over, dust off your scheduling tools and get ready, the SXSW Film crew has started releasing this years film listing!

This years opening night film is BRAND: A Second Coming. The lively film dives deep into the eye of the celebrity storm, with Russel Brand at its center as he grapples with fame, influence and where we are as a 21st century society.

In addition they’ve announced the following six films as well:

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story (World Premiere)
Director: Sara Hirsh Bordo
From the producers of the most viewed TEDWomen event of 2013 comes A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, a documentary following the inspiring journey of 25-year-old, 58-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist.

Ex Machina (North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Garland
Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller Ex Machina, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander.
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander

Hello, My Name is Doris (World Premiere)
Director: Michael Showalter, Screenwriters: Michael Showalter, Laura Terruso
An isolated 60-year-old woman is motivated by a self-help seminar to romantically pursue a younger coworker, causing her to stumble into the spotlight of the Brooklyn hipster social scene.
Cast: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs, Wendi Mclendon-Covey, Stephen Root, Elizabeth Reaser, Jack Antonoff, Natasha Lyonne, Tyne Daly

The Invitation (World Premiere)
Director: Karyn Kusama, Screenwriters: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
A reunion of old friends turns into a nightmare when one guest, a haunted man whose ex-wife is among the hosts, begins to fear that the night is part of a terrifying agenda.
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lindsay Burdge

Mavis! (World Premiere)
Director: Jessica Edwards
Her family group, the Staple Singers, inspired millions and helped propel the civil rights movement with their music. After 60 years of performing, legendary singer Mavis Staples’ message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.

Son of the Congo (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Adam Hootnick
Serge Ibaka’s improbable journey has taken him from the violence of Congo to the top of the NBA. In Son of the Congo, Ibaka returns home, hoping his basketball success can help rebuild a country and inspire a new generation to dream of a better life.

This is just the beginning! Get ready and register today!

# Posted by Eric on January 11, 2015; Comments Off.

Don’t forget the music panels at SXSW 2015

Lots of panels are being announced for SXSW, head over to the main site for all the details. I just want to draw attention to the music panels. While SXSW Music is heavily geared towards the showcases, especially in the mainstream press, it’s the panels and the opportunities to learn from others (and to make lots of new connections in a short amount of time).

So take some time to look through the panels, not only is there a lot to learn, but hitting the panels forces you to get up relatively early in the day so you can maximise your time in Austin!

Find all the Music panels here!

# Posted by Ewan on January 11, 2015; Comments Off.

SXSW Needs You! (as a Volunteer)

Want to get access to SXSW events for free? Want to meet great folks and make lifelong friends? Consider volunteering for SXSW!

Every year SXSW recruits a veritable army of volunteers, more than 3000 of them to help setup, run and break down all the events, shows, and parties that comprise the South by Southwest experience.

To meet their goal they hold a Volunteer Call in January each year where you can go and meet the crews, learn more about the responsibilities and time commitments and what perks you can earn.

Volunteer Call Dates and Times
January 17, 2015
3PM to 5PM
Austin Convention Center, Ballroom ABC


January 27, 2014
6PM to 9PM
Austin Convention Center, Ballroom ABC.

There are two main types of volunteers conference and Production. More details from the Volunteer site:

Conference Volunteers can schedule hours anytime throughout the 10 days of the SXSWeek (March 7-16, 2014) on up to three crews. Some crews may have limited hours available on days before and after the event. Conference Volunteers work hours toward a perk of their choice. Click here for more information about working as a Conference Volunteer.

Production Volunteers are restricted to working on only one crew throughout SXSWeek. Production Volunteers earn their perks based on the number of shifts worked. Click here for more information about working as a Production Volunteer.

As a former Volunteer and Crew Chief I can honestly say that volunteering at SXSW has greatly expanded my enjoyment of the event, especially in those first few years of attending, I learned a great deal about how to “do” SXSW from more experienced volunteers.

SXSW also takes Out of town volunteers, so even if you’re not from the area, go check out volunteer.sxsw.com to learn more.

# Posted by Eric on January 7, 2015; Comments Off.