With Millar Jukes
Photography by Anti-Ist
SXSW is one of the world’s most prestigious music conferences, where the industry’s best and brightest meet to mingle, learn, perform and get their drink on. Melbourne-based musician Millar Jukes reports from the frontline of SXSW, using the festival as the perfect excuse for a little networking.
I got to Austin just before the music part of South by Southwest (SXSW) – the conference has interactive and movie sessions too – and it was already buzzing. I thought getting there early would help me ease into the conference, but nothing could prepare me for the whirlwind of music, people and alcohol. Even as a muso who just wanted to experience SXSW as a punter I was able to market my band and make a ton of contacts.
You can buy music badges for around $800 USD that get you into showcases and put you at the front of official parties, panels and shows. This is what I used and I found I got pretty easy access to most areas that usually have pretty intimidating lines. If you can’t swing that money then get a music wristband for $150. Not as good as the badge but still gets you into a lot. Badges and wristbands are awesome for networking.
When it came to promoting my music I had business cards and CDs on hand just in case I met someone important. You never know you’re going to meet and they’re a great way for someone to remember you.
A lot of labels, producers and PR companies put on official and unofficial showcases for the artists they’re working with. Do some research on who you want to work with and plan to go to their showcases. I’m not saying you’ll meet the CEO but you never know who’ll be in the crowd. I went to as many as I could and talked to everyone I could. The best thing I got out of it was practice in promoting my band and learning to talk myself up a bit, something a lot of creatives struggle with, myself included.
SXSW has so much going on, including a lot of freebies – mainly alcohol – if you know how to find it. A lot of showcases and parties offer free booze and food, but to stay on top of this you have to RSVP and that means knowing what’s on. Using apps like RSVPster, SKOOP and Twitter I was able to go to things I never would have found out about. These parties really help if you’re on a budget and provide more opportunities for networking….and drinking.
My SXSW experience was amazing and one that I’m going to repeat next year. It’s a week of fun, booze, and most importantly music! Stock up on business cards, CDs, swagger and energy. Until next year SXSW.
Get familiar with SXSW here
Millar Jukes & the Bandits launch their first single Chase the Sun from their forthcoming EP at the Workers Club on Friday April 24. Check out their Facebook page here