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sxsw, networking, road to austin

Feb 24, 2016 08:00 AM

Jhoni Jackson

Road to Austin: 5 Musicians Share Their Networking Game Plans for SXSW

Tangina Stone. (Image via sonicbids.com)

Every week leading up to SXSW, we'll be sharing the exciting journeys of Sonicbids bands from all around the world in our 2016 Road to Austin series. Follow along to get insight on the planning and preparation that goes into it, a firsthand look at life on the road, tips from SXSW veterans, and much more. Join the conversation by using #RoadToAustin on social media – we'd love to hear from you!

How many times is the average independent music publicist approached by bands or artists each year at SXSW? We don't actually know, but it's probably enough to make them wary of unfamiliar faces headed their way with a CD in hand. To be taken seriously, you'll want to be prepared with something more than that. Even better: consider expanding your idea of what networking is to begin with.

Five of the bands and artists in our pool of #RoadToAustin tipsters gave us their personal go-to angles for getting in with the right folks. Nothing's guaranteed, of course, and your own experience may require adjustments – but the methods you'll find below are excellent starting points, if not straight-up, top-notch advice.

Road to Austin: 8 Tips From Bands on How to Build Buzz and Stand Out at SXSW

Qarabagh Ensemble. (Image via sonicbids.com)

Every week leading up to SXSW, we'll be sharing the exciting journeys of Sonicbids bands from all around the world in our 2016 Road to Austin series. Follow along to get insight on the planning and preparation that goes into it, a firsthand look at life on the road, tips from SXSW veterans, and much more. Join the conversation by using #RoadToAustin on social media – we'd love to hear from you!

Last year's SXSW numbers are staggering. All of them. But for performing bands and artists, this one's especially relevant: about 11,200 events, official or otherwise, were held in 2015. That's a lot of competition, huh? Even if you're a showcasing artist, you're still up against more than 2,200 other accepted acts. Those statistics beg the question: how will you stand out?

sxsw, road to austin

Feb 10, 2016 08:00 AM

Jhoni Jackson

Expectations vs. Reality: 12 Lessons From SXSW Veterans for First-Time Performers

January May (image courtesy of the band)

Every week leading up to SXSW, we'll be sharing the exciting journeys of Sonicbids bands from all around the world in our 2016 Road to Austin series. Follow along to get insight on the planning and preparation that goes into it, a firsthand look at life on the road, tips from SXSW veterans, and much more. Join the conversation by using #RoadToAustin on social media – we'd love to hear from you!

Prepare all you want, but there's no avoiding an involuntary jaw drop upon arriving at SXSW for the first time. The mass of people, music blaring from all angles, the promotional pushing of trial-size beverages and branded tchotchke on every corner – it's all very overwhelming. And that's just the likely experience of an attendee. Performers have even more to contend with, from competing for listeners to figuring out how the hell to load in amid the chaos.

We asked bands who've been through it firsthand about their expectations, the reality of SXSW, and what they wish they'd known the first time around. The festival, although immensely awesome, can also be an unpredictable and unapologetic beast. These 12 tips will help you maximize its possilities instead of succumbing to its pitfalls.

sxsw, road to austin

Feb 3, 2016 06:00 AM

Jhoni Jackson

What’s Your Road to Austin? 3 DIY Bands Share How They’re Making the Most of Their Trip to SXSW

The Semi-Supervillains will be arriving by automobile, not watercraft. (Image courtesy of the band)

Welcome to our 2016 Road to Austin series! Every week leading up to SXSW, we'll be sharing the exciting journeys of Sonicbids bands from all around the world as they make their way to Austin. Follow along to get insight on the planning and preparation that goes into it, a firsthand look at life on the road, tips from SXSW veterans, and much more. Join the conversation by using #RoadToAustin on social media – we'd love to hear from you!

Most DIY bands headed to SXSW get there by car – or, more likely, a van packed to the gills with gear, merch, supplies, and bandmates. Kudos to anyone who endures the trip to Austin, especially those with treks in the thousands of miles. Even more praise, though, for those also stopping to play as many shows in as many cities as humanly possible on the way – and that's actually most of them.

The entire month of March – not just the week of SXSW – is primetime for independent bands. Leading up to the fest and coming back, everyone's playing shows everywhere. And music fans, music writers, booking agents, and everyone else in the industry seem to have their ears to the ground more actively than any other time of year – because, you know, it's basically one of the most magical for independent music.

What Does It Take to Play SXSW? The Kickback’s Journey to the Fest

The Kickback (Photo by David Burlacu)

You already know that having a SXSW showcase on your resume is pretty much essential if you want your band to be taken with any level of seriousness, but what does it actually take to get there? Not just the application process, but what does a band’s actual journey to the festival look like?