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6 Can't-Miss Events for DIY Musicians at SXSW Music 2016

Royal Teeth. (Photo by Wyatt Troll)

We’ve been waiting all year, and it’s finally here – SXSW Music 2016 officially kicks off tomorrow, March 15! If you’ve been to Austin’s massive music festival and conference before, you know that with dozens of equally amazing events all happening simultaneously, the hardest part is narrowing down your schedule to the best of the best. As we put the finishing touches on our SX schedules, we wanted to share one event per day that’s sure to be particularly awesome for DIY musicians to attend. So get out those calendars and start marking – and maybe we’ll run into you at some of these!

Top 6 Venues to Play in Toronto if You're Trying to Break Into the Scene

Image via Wikimedia Commons

This article is about Toronto, Ontario, Canada, so please forgive me if an innocent "eh" falls out here and there, or a "u" happens to slip into words like "humour" or "colour." Anyway, Toronto and the surrounding municipalities have provided the world with many great artists. Recently, Toronto-born artists topped out three of the top four spots on the Billboard Hot 100. The Weeknd took spots one and three with his tracks "The Hills" and "Can't Feel My Face," respectively, while Drake's "Hotline Bling" took number four. The number-two spot was filled by nearby Stratford, Ontario's Justin Bieber and his song "What Do You Mean?" It's the first time in history the top four spots have been taken up by Canadian recording artists.

All of that is to say that in recent years, Toronto has become a hotbed for musical talent. Aspiring musicians come from around the country to try and hack it in the Big Smoke (as the city is known to anyone living outside of it). There are a plethora of venues across the city that have played host to some of the world's biggest musicians, but those can be a little difficult to crack into if you’re just starting out or your new band is still trying to find its footing. The good news, though, is that there a lot of decent venues where up-and-coming bands can cut their teeth around the city. Here are six in no particular order.

The 5 Best Festivals and Showcases for Emerging Bands to Play in Toronto This Year

Rich Aucoin at Canadia Music Week 2015. (Photo by Rick Clifford)

Toronto is one of the premier music cities in North America, hosting a wealth of top-notch music events every year and home to a thriving and extensive music scene, both in terms of producing recent chart champs – Drake, the Weeknd, Shawn Mendes – and in terms of independent artists.

For emerging bands, there are ample opportunities for getting industry exposure, from large, eclectic music festival showcases to more genre-specialized grassroots events. Let's take a look at some of Toronto's best festivals and showcases for emerging artists in 2016.

How to Play the Okeechobee Music Festival in March With Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, and More

Mumford & Sons are headlining the first annual Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival. (Image via tampabay.com)

While the rest of the East Coast is cloaked in gloomy winter leftovers, your band could score a performance at the first annual Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival in sunny Florida this March – and get paid up to $500 for it! And when you consider that you'd be playing alongside huge acts like Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, Skrillex, Bassnectar, Robert Plant and the Sensatonal Space Shifters, Odesza, Daryl Hall & John Oates, The Avett Brothers, and many more, why would you not want to apply for free to play the fest?

Apply to Perform at These 5 Incredible North American Summer Festivals for $10 or Less

Thee Oh Sees at the 2014 Northside Festival. (Image via facebook.com)

Summer festival season may seem far away right now, especially if you're already seeing the signs of the coming biting winter weather. For independent bands looking to land spots at those shindigs, however, the time to apply for consideration has already begun.

There are tons of festival opportunities for independent artists, so to help you get started with applications, we've compiled a list of five awesome North American fests – all of them cost $10 or less to apply, and each is known to draw a huge crowds. Good luck!