It’s been amazing to watch SXSW grow from a small independent hotbed to the biggest and most important music and arts festival of the year. Much like The Sundance Festival does for independent film, SXSW gives a forum and a voice to hundreds of aspiring artists every year. And more importantly, the chance to be seen and hopefully discovered by the movers and shakers of the established industry.
The complaints about SXSW are the same ones that Sundance endures. It has sold out. It’s increasingly dominated by established artists looking for a cohesive marketing launch for their product. There are too many events crammed into the schedule – not even counting the unofficial fringe events that occur outside the official festival – so the odds on making a mark are miniscule. Yet every year, a few acts come out of that event hotter than a comet, and those merely following the festivities from a distance are immediately tipped to them.
As one who likes to sift through the plethora of publicity and promotion in search of good bands, comedians and films, I find these festival events fascinating. And sometimes the best results happen because they are chaotic and spontaneous, despite meticulous and careful planning.
So if you are not lucky enough to be reading this from Austin, click here for schedules and information. Not too late to jump on a plane.
If you just want to peek from afar, hit the Independent Film Channel website where they are streaming events live throughout the festival.