Are you playing or attending SXSW this year? PRS for Music has collated some essential advice from industry insiders including jazz drummer Moses Boyd and Shakka’s manager on how to make the most of the festival.
As SXSW descends on Austin, Texas for another year, the royalty collecting society has spoken to some of the best ‘South By connoisseurs’ to get their tips on what to expect, logistics, getting booked, getting heard and who to talk to.
From footwear to tech specs, here’s what you need to know…
Moses Boyd, artist
Get some comfy shoes and be prepared for a lot of walking and talking. Nothing can prepare you for the scale of the festival and all the interesting people you’ll meet.
Nike Durosaro, artist manager (Shakka)
Plan your days well – there are some amazing seminars and workshops and if you do not get up early and have a schedule you’ll miss them!
Allow enough time to get from one venue to another (some streets and venues are very crowded) and the festival is spread out over a wide area.
Try and secure bookings at venues which are in the heart of the action, it’s trickier to get people to come and watch you perform if your venue is off the beaten path.
Alex Sharman, Writer Account Manager, PRS for Music
RSVP to all the parties, showcases and events in advance – you may only make it to a handful but you can catch some good bands, make key contacts and the free booze/food is always welcome!
Sarah Wall, Senior Events and Outreach Manager, PPL
Communicate clearly with venues and production teams – send stage plots and tech specs, anything that might help them. But bring your own printouts too – it’s not unusual for these things to go missing in the madness of SXSW or even for backline equipment to go AWOL. Think: what is your back-up?
Rehearse key tracks stripped back or in alternative formats. Know how you will approach your show if your keyboard dies or the adaptors break, or if your drummer gets stuck at the airport. If you’ve thought about this, it won’t phase you (much) when something (inevitably) happens.
Bhavesh Patel, Programme Manager, PRS Foundation
If you’re going there as a rep, really get your hustle on when you’re on the ground at SXSW, don’t waste too much time by staying in one place or trying to stick together in a group. Be receptive to taking last minute meetings which can sometimes lead to meeting some interesting people or new work/opportunities.
As an artist, try and connect with other artists and writers out there and create any good collaboration opportunities you can – be bold and approach whoever you want to work with if you seem them out at a gig or in the conference centre.
P-C Rae, British Music Embassy
GEL INSOLES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Pavement pounding in Austin can take its toll and you don’t want to end up having to wear giant white old ladies’ sneakers because your bruised, battered, swollen feet won’t fit in anything else…
Picture: Dream Wife at SXSW 2017