Now that we’re home from SXSW in Austin, Texas we can safely say “that was wild!” This program of conferences, events, and festivals really is full-on.
SXSW is structured into five streams, Music, Film, Comedy, Interactive, and Gaming. Each stream offers a multitude of events and sessions each day. I counted how many events are held in a single day across the five streams. I got to around 70 before noon in a single day before giving up. Considering programming begins at 7:00am daily and spans well beyond midnight, it meant there were just too many to count. I’m sure you’ll trust me when I say, there is A LOT going on!
Each of the five streams host a variety of different types of programming. There are sessions, keynotes, panels, networking events, showcases, mentors, mixers, and parties. And these are all things you will come across in a single day! Last week we talked about how hard it is to plan what exactly to do at a specific time. We talked about how many different factors such as logistics and popularity will weigh on your decision. But this week we realized that no matter where you end up you’ll be learning something or meeting someone new!
The Big Switch
One thing I noticed while attending SXSW is what I have been referring to as “the big switch.” The Morning after the Film Intermission Party something strange happened. The party takes place as the official mid-point to SXSW is held on the only Wednesday during SXSW. It was lots of fun music, an open bar, and a lineup *forever* long! I was lucky to have slipped in! This was to be the place everyone wanted to be that night! And little did I know it would be the turning point for festival!
When the next morning rolled around, it had already happened! Everyone had changed lanes! People were arriving to the convention centre later, sessions were preemptively scheduled to start later, too. I think what shocked me the most was the switch in the style of clothing people were wearing! Less professional looking executive types were walking around Austin! More artists and musicians had arrived. The music programming had started!
Later nights playing and attending shows meant later wake ups for most of the attendees. People who were here to play and see shows. They weren’t wearing suits, or rushing around from meeting to meeting with no time to stop and chat. They were here for their passion, and it was a beautiful thing.
The music segment was more performance heavy. Every venue had amazing up and coming artists playing all day! I caught a lot of great sets and I was able to sit in on a lot of really interesting sessions with people who are paving the way for the future of music. A bonus point, the line ups were a lot easier to manage than earlier in the week!! Without further adieu, and in no particular order here are some highlights from a few sessions I attended!
Lola Plaku is the creator of I LUV LOLA, and the CEO of Lola Media Group. She talked about how she built her, albeit financially unsustainable, first venture on the platform of niche marketing. Lola says it’s in the details. Know your client, know what they like, know where they hang out. Because of her keen attention to detail and her easy-going personality she was responsible for some of Toronto’s greatest hip-hop productions of our generation.
Shirley Manson and Lauren Mayberry are both female musicians from Scotland. Shirley is the front person of Garbage, and Lauren heads up CHVRCHES. They may be from different generations but they certainly see eye to eye on a lot of things. These women talked about what it means to be supportive of one another in what can sometimes be a cut-throat industry.
Wyclef Jean delivered a very lively session. Including some performances with a few students from his project “Wyclef Goes Back To School.” It was great to see him speaking with the talented young people in the room, and collaborating with them as peers.
Mike-D and Ad-Rock were at SXSW to discuss their new book Beastie Boys Book. The book is penned by Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond in memory of their friend and band member Adam Yauch. Horovitz established very early in the interview that it would not be going the way Nathan Brackett their Amazon Music moderator had planned it to! As it turns out, Nathan grew up as a neighbour to Yauch, so the pair had no problem giving him a hard time in front of us all! The session was funny and painted a great picture of what the book would be like! (I promptly downloaded on Audible it for my flight home!)
It was great to meet so many people down in Austin and chat with you all about the projects your working on! We hope you’ll watch out for Gimme The Beat as we continue in production! Follow along @gimmethebeatdoc and @ktrainmusicstudios for daily updates and check back here every Thursday for a new blog!