As a music fan, it’s difficult to complain about SXSW. We have seen some brilliant shows over the years but as many of you know, the festival has changed a lot. Over the last few years, there had been a dramatic influx of big corporate clients bringing some big bands with them. In itself, that was not a problem, but the volume of people coming into the city started to become unmanageable. Most were not there for SXSW but to be a part of what was happening, the place to be, and the place to be seen.
Austin had become the number one destination for Spring Breakers with its warm temperatures and a lot of free music shows that brings the crowd. But as a SXSW attendee, it became a little tougher to justify the amount of money spent on the trip, the badge, etc when the city had become overrun.
Even the official showcases were being affected as bars were allowed to let anyone in eventually if they paid a minimal charge. This meant packed venues with badge holders left outside because the bar had hit capacity by letting these non-badge holders in.
After the tragic accident last year, not caused by any corporate client or any SXSW showcase, but by a drunk driver, trying to escape a police pursuit, the Festival did some soul searching. The city had had enough and many bands, managers, and regular music fans had sent feedback saying it had gotten out of control. From where I stood, as long as I could get to see my 60+ bands I was happy but it was certainly becoming more difficult to plan and to negotiate the city to get to the shows.
This year, the festival spoke much about making changes and while I still think there is room to improve, this year was fantastic. Those corporate clients are gone, and while I still think there are too many free shows, those shows that attract non SXSW attendee’s to come into the city, the value of my badge was clear from Day One.
It was more organized and SXSW was bending over backward to make it as easy as possible for badge holders to get into shows. Most night time showcases were restricted to badge and wristband holders. The bigger day parties like Spotify, House of Vans, Pitchfork, etc were prioritizing badges with little or no lines and parties like Fader Fort became badge and wristband only.
So it is back to being about the bands. If you work hard, there could be a payoff. In the last few years, you could play 15 times and not get noticed because Coldplay of Kanye were getting all the headlines. Hopefully it means we are back to discovery, back to surprises and all those reasons why we were going in the first place.
In the end, the most positive sign of how great SXSW 2015 was? It is the fact that every single person I know that went is already committing to SXSW 2016. It’s been years since everyone returned to Toronto with that kind of excitement and passion for this festival.
I am glad, very very tired still…but very very happy. Have fun out there
Looking through the early batch of festivals that are taking place this year, The Wood Festival has competed its main stage line up and with Day Tickets now on sale, this looks an nice event to stretch your festival legs at.
The festival takes place on the 15th, 16th & 17th May at Braziers Park, near Wallingford, Oxfordshire Headliners are Tunng, Songhoy Blues & Treetop Flyers. Gill Sandell/Chris T.T , Hans Chew, The Dreaming Spires, Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou and Thomas Truax are all appearing along with a host of other fine musicians.
Tickets for this celebration of music and nature are now available HERE Tickets are also available from the Truck Store, Oxford.
For information on all the bands you can go to the festival Facebook page
Formed in early 2012 and named after Grace Slick’s mother, Virginia Wing combines the talents of Alice Merida Richards (Vocals, Synths, Organ), Samuel Pillay (Synths, guitar, noises, bass) and Sebastian Truskolaski (Drums, percussion).
The band’s debut album Measures Of Joy is out now on Fire Records and well worth checkin’ out!
Following a UK tour with Hookworms, the band are now on tour in Europe;
25.03.2015 Liege (BE), La Péniche InsideOut
26.03.2015 München (DE), Alte Kongresshalle
31.03.2015 Lyon (FR), Sonic
01.04.2015 Paris (FR), L'Espace B
03.04.2015 Schaffhausen (CH), Tap Tab Club
05.04.2015 Vienna (AT), Rhiz
06.04.2015 Prague (CZ), Palác Akropolis
07.04.2015 Berlin (DE), Acud
10.04.2015 Rotterdam (NL), Motel Mozaique
11.04.2015 Ghent (BE), Kinky Star
Nadine Shah has now sold out her show at London's Oslo on 16th April and has also announced her biggest headline performance to date at the Union Chapel on 1st October 2015.
Tickets for the show will be available on Friday 27th March via Communion Music.
Nadine has also announced a handful of festival slots including Latitude and End of the Road.
New album Fast Food will be available 13th April on vinyl, CD and via digital download (AMB1506). You can pre-order the album via Nadine's website as well as iTunes here.
Weddings, Funerals and reformed band gigs all have a number of things in common. The anxiety of w [ ... ]