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Posts Tagged ‘sxsw’

Popular Music Venues Lose Out In City Permit Scramble

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

Last year saw 147 ‘Events’ take place in Austin during SXSW week, primarily around music and the inclusion of temporary stages. All of these required a permit from the City of Austin.

There’s a drive to reduce the size of SXSW in the city, and the council had indicated that there would be an earlier cut-off fate of Feb 5th this year… it also had a hard limit of 120 permits. Those permits were all used up by Tuesday 2nd Feb, and a number of SXSW mainstays had focused on the date cut-off and not the permit limit. Austin360 picks up the story:

Among those caught in the lurch is the South by Southwest Music Festival itself. Festival organizers failed to get in the permit application for St. David’s Church. The downtown church has hosted popular SXSW showcases for years, including capacity shows from Fort Worth soul sensation Leon Bridges and French Cuban sister duo Ibeyi in 2015.

“(The application for) St. David’s church was 24 hours late (or 24 hours early based on the published February 5 deadline depending on how you look at it),” SXSW organizers said Friday morning.

Also caught up was South by San Jose. At this point the permit for the long-running free, family-friendly event that takes place each year in the parking lot of Jo’s Coffee and the Hotel San Jose is up in the air, as it was turned in after the Tuesday cutoff.

As noted, this is a new process that is under review, so it would not surprise us here at SXSW Baby! if the hard limit of 120 is very slightly bendable given the historical weight of some venues. We shall see…

Artists Beware… ‘Pay To Play’ SXSW Unofficial Gigs On The Rise

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Austin360 writes about the experiences of many bands as promoters tempt them to ‘play SXSW’ by buying up a spot in a playbill. Not only are many of these events taking place before the SXSW Music week, but you don’t pay to play at SXSW. If someone is asking for cash, it’s an unaffiliated event. Deborath Stith:

We asked SXSW representatives about the event and they said they will investigate. They also directed us to this page on SXSW Pay-to-Play scams.

“SXSW never charges our artists to perform at an official showcase; we operate on a strict invitation-only policy. We do not condone these solicitations in any way, and are actively doing everything we can to protect artists from becoming victims of these “pay-to-play” scams… SXSW’s application process is closed and SXSW will not ask you to pay-to-play at the festival.”

Of course there is an investment for bands to play SXSW (including transport, kit, accommodation, and expenses on the ground in Austin), and paying to play a gig is not strictly a scam if you actually play the gig. But let’s stress once more the key message. SXSW will not ask you to pay if you want to play an official showcase. Got that? Good.

Here endeth the PSA.

Can SXSW Carry On Growing?

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

An interesting debate has started on the Austin American Statesman. Gissela Santacruz asks about the size of SXSW as an event, compares it to the explosive growth of Sundance,  and openly asks if it is simply too big:

It’s no secret that similar negative observations have been pointed out about SXSW. Austin residents and festivalgoers have been complaining for a few years now about public safety, traffic and the effect they have on the quality of a SXSW experience. Then, critics had more to make their case against SXSW growth after a tragic crash killed four people during SXSW in 2014. While enhancements to public safety measures have been made since the accident — measures applauded by the American-Statesman editorial board — it will be necessary for festival organizers to be more proactive in their planning to prevent more tragedies.

What started in 1987 as a stage to showcase independent musicians — adding film and interactive branches in 1994 — has exploded into a one Texas’ biggest Spring Break gatherings full of big names, big parties and bigger headaches for those who live and work in downtown where most of the official and unofficial SXSW gigs take place.

How long can SXSW continue to grow?  Hoel and bedspace has always been a major issue with the ‘walking distance’ hotels sold out months in advance (and that’s a a European walking distance), but infrastructure for transport around the city, the space required for events, presentations, showcases, and everything else… Austin is getting a bit cramped.

Can SXSW keep growing, or will more events like V2V be spun out of the SXSW ‘week’ in March to try and control the numbers?

Final Music Wristbands on sale this Thursday

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

The final batch of Music Wristbands for SXSW Music 2016 will go on sale this Thursday. The price is $189, and as always they are only on sale for Austin residents and the local areas (as determined by the Zip Code on the payment card). The bands will give access to the music showcases throughout Austin during SXSW (although badge holders will still have priority). More details and the terms and conditions – which you really should read through carefully – are online at wristbands.sxsw.com.

While the wristbands are available to locals in part to recompense them for the disruption in the city, there is a (small) pool of Music Wristbands available to buy for those who live outside of the immediate area. Full details can be found at southbywristbands.com.

BAdges as always are available to purchase at the maine SXSW.com website.

Workshop Announced For UK’s SXSW Artists

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

There’s something about music from the UK that SXSW really enjoys, so it’s great to see the UK’s Performing Rights Society (PRS) supporting performers heading out to SXSW Music. Not only is the organisation supplying  financial support to fourteen artists to get to Austin (more details here, including Liverpool’s Stealing Sheep, who really should be on your radar), it is also offering a workshop for every UK-based performer heading out to Austin next month.

The Foundation will be hosting a workshop for all UK-based artists who have been invited to perform at SXSW which is to take place on Friday, February 12 in London at the PRS office in Kings Cross. Please contact/RSVP by emailing bhavesh@prsformusicfoundation.com.

I do hope the workshop reminds everyone to try and avoid the midday sun… us Brits burn very easily under the Texan light!

It’s that time of year… check your visa!

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

By our count it’s fifty-one days until SXSW Interactive kicks off, and no doubt there are tens of thousands of Southby attendees coming from overseas. Take a little bit of time out of your day to check you’ll still be allowed into America!

There have been a number of changes to the US Visa Waiver program that could make you ineligible to travel, even if your country has an agreement with the US. Check carefully that you are still eligible, and make sure you have a valid ESTA application in place before you travel.

And oif you have to apply for a visa, you;ve (just about) got enough time left if you start the process now.

Just How Important Is SXSW To Austin?

Friday, September 18th, 2015

The simple answer is “about two-thirds of a Superbowl”, according to the annual Business Impact Survey commissioned by SXSW and put together by Greyhill Advisors. Chad Swiatecki writing for the Austin Business Journal looks at the report and pulls out the numbers:

The economic impact directly attributed to official SXSW events was $211 million, with the remainder in economic impact being generated by the tourism and cultural activities at the fringe. In terms of media exposure for Austin, the festival generated $90.6 million worth of media coverage. More than 60,000 hotel room nights were booked during the festival.

Growth in terms of income was up 0.7%, but the actual growth of three three main strands was higher, with Interactive up 3.1%, Film up 8%, and music up 8.2%, in terms of attendance. SO Austin has more people coming, but the gains are a bout more marginal.

Still worth it, Austinites?