Launched in 1987 as a small-scale music industry event, over the years SXSW has grown to become one of the largest film, music and tech events in the world. This year, from March 11-17, it will showcase over 2,000 artists from over 60 countries; and Scottish bands, performers, promoters and film-makers will, once again, be in the thick of the action.
Mind you, Texas is no stranger to Scottish music. In 1836, Aberfeldy-born John MacGregor didn’t only pick up his musket when he went with Davie Crockett to defend the Alamo, he also took his bagpipes. There, each night, the pair, MacGregor on his pipes, and Crockett on his fiddle, would play to bolster the morale of their embattled, surrounded, and doomed comrades.
Thankfully, these days, the locals are a bit friendlier.
Amongst the literally thousands of gigs which draw booking agents, talent spotters, and music managers from across the world, there will also be impromptu jam sessions, film screenings, talks, exhibitions, mentoring programmes, song writing workshops and networking events. Once an industry-focused event, SXWS has grown to become one of the biggest music and multi-media festivals in America.
Previous Scottish visitors to the festival include Dundee indie-rockers The View, Mercury Music Prize-winning Edinburgh hip-hop trio Young Fathers, and cult Glasgow DJ Twitch.
This year, thanks to a partnership between Creative Scotland, our national arts agency, and the UK’s Performing Rights Society’s Music Foundation, the International Showcase Fund will help nine up and coming Scottish bands and artists to showcase their music at SXSW.
The Scottish bands and performers crossing the pond this year include; The Dunts; Fatherson; Kapil Seshasayee; LUCIA; The Ninth Wave; Paws; Rascalton; Saint PHNX; and The Snuts.
Jamie Houston, Music Officer at Creative Scotland commented: “An opportunity to showcase at SXSW can open doors to the US market, and 2019 sees another strong representation of Scotland’s diverse music scene.
“Creative Scotland’s ongoing commitment to international development is made possible through continued partnership with the PRS Foundation and the hugely successful International Showcase Fund. The partnership offers support to enable bands to reach the wider industry and identifies those who are ready to hit the international stage.
“SXSW is among the most significant global creative industry events and the PRSF and other International Showcase Fund partners strive to enable bands to make the most of the opportunity at the right stage of their career”.
Austin, the state capital of Texas, and the festival’s host city, has long been recognised as one of the most creative and open-minded in America, with the US News & World Report naming it the number one place to live in the US in both 2017 and 2018. Add in Austin’s annual, three-day City Limits music festival, its buzzing arts scene, and the fact it can boast more music venues per capita than any other US city, and it’s no surprise that it proudly claims to be ‘The Live Music Capital of the World’.