For the independent musician that feels like they want to step things up a notch, that want to package up their wares and shop them around to most of the North American music industry, there appears to be one main place to go for about ten days in March, and that's Austin, Texas. Now, I am just going on hearsay, but, according to many, it's a pretty intense ten days of music and media overload. I've never been, but in a couple weeks, that is going to change.
Over the years, I have had every reason to be there. South X Southwest (www.sxsw.com) is a large scale music and film conference that has been growing over the years into the leading event of its kind in North America. Careers are made, parties happen, deals get struck, bands play gigs, people have a good time, and, I am sure, fortunes get lost as well, since this is a business conference, and some people probably invest in things that go completely wrong.
Anyway, this is my first time going to SXSW and, honestly, I am pretty excited. I've got lots of experience with large scale arts and entertainment events and I know how to handle myself. Those lessons were learned at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (www.edfringe.com) and the concurrent events that happen simultaneously in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, the largest event of its kind in the world. Learning the hard way, my experience came from being a one-man show with no team, no assistants, no promoters, no stage hands, no, nothing but my own self on more than one festival up against, literally, over 1000 different performances a day in over 400 different venues across the entire city with no budget.
The main lesson? Be memorable. Be remembered in every conversation and appearance. Every day that you are at an event of that size or purpose, you are not there to just fuck around, you are there to work. Every hour of every day, the focus is on your performance, getting the word out about your performance and your product and trying to be the talk of the event. In Edinburgh, the focus is performers: theatre, comedy, dance, music, etc., with film, art and books included. As a one-man show, I had to work my ass off every day to get the word out, in the press as well as through direct marketing, person-to-person interaction (which isn't for everyone), handing out fliers. For the five minutes before I went on stage every night, after I warmed up my voice, checked the sound and everything. I went out in front of the venue and tried to pull in a few more people. That's the dedication it takes to "make" it at these events so that you aren't wasting a lot of time and resources.
So, SXSW, huh?
Yup, and finally. Some of you readers may have heard me mention a city band I play with called Hands Off My Sister (www.erinsaxseymour.com), a raucous, sexy rock band with rootsy, country leanings and a foxy lead singer named Erin Sax Seymour. We've held court at Caffe Vivaldi once a month or so over the last couple years, and we finally are heading out of town to do something new. We are heading down to Austin, Texas to play a few showcases in a couple weeks. Other than a radio appearance and some last-minute gigs we'll get in between now and then, we are doing two pretty cool sets.
3/16 Indie Sounds NY & Austin Day Party
618 W. 6th Street
3/19 Harris Radio's Indie Hang
1500 Barton Springs Road
So, I am looking forward to the hustle and the bustle, and I am looking forward to putting Hands Off My Sister on a larger scale, which this should prove to be. Lots of friends will be in town and some are still figuring out if they can make it or not, and, of course, as we draw nearer, I will be discussing all that is going into it, from the scheduling to preparing merchandise, etc.
One thing I really hope to get across to all you readers is this...
On Saturday, March 5th, the band will be having a fundraiser for our trip to Texas. We are trying to raise enough money to recoup the airfare, pay for rooms and a few sandwiches here and there and to buy enough promotional materials to effectively get the word out. There is no cover, but we humbly ask that you make a donation in to our tip bucket during the performance.
That show will be...
3/5 Caffe Vivaldi 9:30pm
32 Jones Street
Greenwich Village, NY
So, I thank you for reading all of the above. It was a whole lot, I know, but there is always something to write about here. I hope you'll keep tabs on this next little adventure and, with any luck, it'll be more positive than the trip to Colorado. :)
Questions, comments, or if you can't make the show on Saturday but would still like to help the band, email me at [email protected].