.it is that time of year again. South by Southwest is upon us again. Austin will be flooded with indie bands from all over the world for the next week or so. Honestly, unless i have a show, i've never really seen all the appeal to the festival. Last year i played my first RBB show at sxsw & it was fun but it's a little different when your band lives in the town.
.a majority of the bands that make it down to sxsw expect a record deal or sponsorships or to just make a ton of bread. Unfortunately this doesn't happen for most. A majority of the bands will end up pawning their gear to make enough money for gas to get home. This is great for the local bands or groups. i(sic) know that i'll be roaming the pawn shops looking for steals on great drum equipment.
.is it worth the risk? i(sic) ask myself that when i first heard of the festival & still do to this day. If you were able to find a sister band or saved up enough money to come & go that's one thing but putting all your eggs in one basket? After the RBB sxsw show we had homes to go back to. i(sic) even had my house by then so i feel kinda bad for all of these out of towners.
.if your best shot for success is a sponsor, then how far do you take it? Can you imagine your favorite underground band playing completely dressed in pepsi apparel? It's like the scene from Wayne's World where Garth is covered from head to toe in adidas gear. Can that be your bus ride back home? Advertisers love these festivals more than anything i would imagine. Everyone is a walking billboard especially since every phone is now a camera or even a video camera. i(sic) just watched a video of my favorite youtube vlogger, sxephil, walking around 6th street. He went into a variety of restaurants & walked outside bars. Granted this was free publicity but with his day or trip being filmed from moment 1, do you think the companies will step up the advertisements? If every one at southby was walking around with a camera why not make the billboards or posters as big as possible! "Here's a picture of Terry & the kids in front of the giant mt. dew horse drawn carriage that's painted green."
.so i've gotten about 50 phone calls since i started this rant & completely lost my train of thought. All in all if you're going to be out for sxsw, be safe. Just like any festival, there are always people looking to take advantage of folks just looking for a good time. That happens on 6th street most every weekend. My favorite bouncer on the street was stabbed randomly a few months ago. He made a full recovery but if a 6'5" 300 lb bouncer is easy pickins, then what does that say about the rest of us? Best bet, secret shows. They're posted all over & some of the best times are with bands you've never heard of at venues that only have music once a year.