Being British, We went to Austin, TX for the SXSW Festival confident that we had the measure of the thing. We like to think we know how to run a festival in the UK, how could this compete ?
Well they took our Glastonbury and smeared it across an entire city. Bands fell where they may. Roof tops, car parks, disused railway yards, occasionally they even played concert venues.
The excitement and mystery of the unknown discovery remain, but It’s urbanised, and commercialised on a stratospheric level that the uk isn’t yet remotely aware of.
The fringe of the festival has found methods of commodifying music that startle and bewilder. A six story tall tortilla chip combination vending machine and stage, springs to mind.
At it’s heart though, SXSW is still about the business of music. Bands come to work hard; most bands we spoke to seemed to have around a dozen shows over the course of the four day festival.
Delirium sets in. Futures are won, voices are lost.
We’ve tried to capture some of the excitement, and sense of pioneering discovery here in our SXSW special, we talked to Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes who told us of her excitement at playing SXSW for the first time,
We talked to film director Bart Layton about his intriguing tall tale of deception; The Imposter. There was that future president (!) of the United States, and a representative from British Music Abroad who explained how they try to help give British bands a leg up.
Finally, we bring you music from some of the artists that managed to cut through the noise.