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Should I play SXSW

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by ariff, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. ariff


    Nov 28, 2007
    Lawrence KS
    So what would you do in my situation? I have an opportunity to play down at SXSW in March. Most bands\musicians would jump at this opportunity. However I am starting to second guess doing it. Our band was offered a opening slot at a club down there on a Friday at noon.. So I'd have to drive over 12hrs to get there play for 30 min and not get any money. And most likely play to an empty bar due to the time slot.. So you can see my problem. I'd have to leave my family for at least three days to play and not come home with really anything except the experience of playing in Austin at SXSW. We have tried booking some shows on the way down or up and have not had any luck. If I bail we have a guy that can fill in for me and the band would still play the gig.. I am just really stuck on this decision and I thought I'd see what others would do in my situation.
  2. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Given the circumstances(family, no money, long travel) i would probably skip that gig. I'm guessing your bandmates may not see this the same way though?
  3. Well, seeing as my family knows how important music is to me, that would not be an issue. Aside from that, even though it's a 30 minute gig and you have no idea to what end, I would carve out at least a full 24 hours or more to show up early and hang out late. So many interesting people show up at this thing.

    I wouldn't pass it up. You could very well come home with a lot more than just the experience of playing in Austin at SXSW. And who knows when/if you'll get the chance again?

    But that's just me.
  4. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    I don't know exactly what career stage you are at, but here are some questions for you to answer that might help you decide:

    What other marketing and networking can you do at the festival?
    Do you have business cards/flyers/download cards ready to distribute when you get down there?
    Do you have a way to find out now who else is playing that is similar that you could connect with at their shows?
    Is there a fringe gig you could create that will actually pay you a little scratch?
    Are you running this like a business, so you can deduct the housing, travel, and food expenses from your taxes?
    Would having SXSW on your resume get you more respect and potential gigs down the road?
    What gigs could you set up for the future? Can you connect with club managers while you are there and get them your marketing materials? This could pay off down the road if you are creating a tour...
  5. Frank Tuesday

    Frank Tuesday

    Jul 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    What venue are you considering playing at? Is it really downtown, specifically 6th and Red River area? Who is sponsoring the day party? Your chance of drawing a crowd at that time is going to depend upon location, free food and free booze. If you don't have at least two of those (or a really popular band playing immediately after you), you'll probably play to a handful of people.
  6. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    The consensus seems to be that SXSW is kind of over.

    Not really worth playing unless you've got a good slot at a bigger venue.

    I assume you've talked it over with the band. If they haven't convinced you it's worth it no one here will. Just make sure they really do respect your decision either way, and aren't just saying that.
  7. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    Not sure what this means. Like, it's not hip anymore? Jumped the shark? Got popular so it's not cool? Attendance down?

    It doesn't even start for a couple of weeks, right?
  8. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    That's what I was wondering? There is actually stop over festivals in other states that catch the traffic either going or coming. See if you can get in on one of those. The rule of thumb is to book multiple shows at SXSW. Remember everybody that is nobody is going down for the exposure or potential for exposure. It can be a real good thing when you have 3-4 different shows down there. Go.
  9. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Me? I'd play it. For sure.
  10. Nope, absolutely not - no way, that I'd do it.... period!!!
  11. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011

    The consensus among WHOM?

    Eventually, Decca Records rejected the Beatles, saying "guitar groups are on the way out" and "The Beatles have no future in show business."
  12. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    This because this:
    Everybody's a nobody playing to other nobodies hoping that one of those nobodies is a somebody, but everybody who's somebody is already there to see nobodies who are already somebodies so they never even see the nobody nobodies.

    You dig?

    Basically, Austin becomes LA for a few weeks.
  13. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    I was about to make a wise crack about how I would need a neck-beard, skinny jeans and fake lenses in black horn-rimmed glasses to understand that post until this:

    Basically, Austin becomes LA for a few weeks

    That made sense.
  14. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
  15. ariff


    Nov 28, 2007
    Lawrence KS
    LOL Neck beard and skinny jeans.. I have neither ;>) So I have never been to Austin.. We are playing at the The Shangri-La on 6th street. Our show case is part of the midcoast takeover. Like I said is in on a Friday at noon. I can't imagine there will be a good crowd at this time.. But like I said I have never been to SXSW so I could be totally off here. Hopefully some Austin peeps can chime in. It is also a free show from what I understand. I have done stuff like this in my younger years and I can count on one hand the amount of times the show really rocked. Nine times outta ten you are playing to bar staff, few people and the other bands. I am not playing in this band to make it big or anything. I am way past that phase in my life.. I had a taste of it 13 years ago or so and it was fun but not a lifestyle I'd choose for myself. Driving 12 hrs sleeping on floors and eating fast food is not really my thing anymore. When I agreed to do it it was with the intention that we'd be playing on the way down and back to help pay for the trip. That has not happened as of now it is just the one show and I don't see that changing in a matter of little less than a month. Thanks for all the insight keep it coming..
  16. I take it you guys are promoting original material, correct?
  17. ariff


    Nov 28, 2007
    Lawrence KS
    Yes original band with a few records and what not..

  18. And, unlike you, all your band mates are still very much in the spirit of making sacrifices to promote the material, willing to travel and sleep on floors and eat fast food, etc.

  19. ariff


    Nov 28, 2007
    Lawrence KS
    Well there are three of us.. Our old drummer actually lives in Austin and he'll be playing with us.. Easy for him.. But yeah I guess the other members are more up for it than I am.

  20. hennessybass

    hennessybass Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2008
    North East Texas
    I actually live in Austin, and as far as SXSW being over... It is over for "small time band comes to austin, plays in a club, someone important sees you, and you get a record contract." Other than that going away, SXSW is bigger than ever. More venues, interactive, education, technology, film, etc, etc, all continues to grow. It is becoming less of a music thing, but the music is still a huge part, and the most fun part.

    To the OP,,, it's a rough gig. Long drive, ****** time slot, ****** pay. If you are going to come, try to book some stuff around Austin to make it worth while. Find someone to stay with, and spend your time checking out the city, other bands, networking, etc. Lots of band doing the thing will all be in Austin for about 4 days, so if you want to meet people, find out what they are doing, how they are doing it, where they are doing it, see a bunch of cool shows, etc... then you should come.