Artists Attending SXSW: 3 Things To Keep In Mind

Hello and welcome to the first ‘Advice’ column of the week. We started covering SXSW prep at the end of January, and this afternoon we’re returning to the topic to help those planning a trip to Austin have a more rewarding experience. If you plan on going to Texas next month, let us know! We will have staff on site and would love the opportunity to talk shop. If you have any questions regarding the content of this blog, or if you would like to learn more information about the services offered by Haulix, please email james@haulix.com and share your thoughts. We can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Whether you’re going for business or pleasure, the weeks leading up to SXSW are often some of the most chaotic and stressful you will experience all year. First you deal with booking everything, which this time of year is a headache-inducing experience in itself, then you have to worry about planning, promoting, packing, promoting some more, traveling, unpacking, promoting again, and – of course – networking. We want to help ease the preparation for Austin as much as possible, and to do this we have recruited music critic Matthew Leimkuehler to share a few pointers that will aide artists as they attempt to standout from the massive of amounts of competition on and around sixth street.

1. Do your research and come with a plan.

SXSW is chaos on Sixth street. If you’re part of a band that has never experienced this — do research. Talk to bands that have played showcases in the past, know where you want to be, who you want to see and whose hand you want to shake. Be aware of everything going on and make the most of every minute you are there. This is an industry driven on being in the right place at the right time. Make a plan and do your best to stick to it [and stay relatively sober, no one wants to hear you drunkenly describe your band as The Beatles meets Bon Iver and how you’re going to change the world forever].

2. Keep an ear to the ground.

The amount of unofficial showcases, house parties and sideshows are unreal. Stay glued to social media, email and the talking heads around you for opportunities to jump on last-minute gigs and impress an entire new group of potential fans. These shows are a great opportunity to play with artists you would have never shared the stage with on a normal bill and can build relationships for future touring.

3. Don’t make an ass of yourself.

We already mentioned how important it is to stay sober enough to make the right impression, but really, if you take your band serious, don’t become overwhelmed by temptation. Being the mecca of musical discovery, your band is a dime a dozen for the entire week, your impression is everything. Don’t get us wrong, it is so important to embrace the week and have an unforgettable time doing so, but you must also bring your A-game for all day, every day. Show the people who matter that you are impressive both on and off stage.

Matthew Leimkuehler is the front page editor for Under The Gun Review. He has also contributed to Substream Magazine. To learn more about Matthew’s work, click here.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.