Spotlight on... is a series of portraits on remarquable festivals around the globe. Once a month the french bureau export choses an international event to highlight and talk about.
First stop: SXSW, in Austin Texas
South by Southwest is a series of festivals encompassing music, film and new technology held each March in Austin, Texas. SXSW began in 1987 as a music festival and conference, which has since expanded to include the film and startup industries. SXSW Music attracts over 16,000 registrants in addition to the combined 32,000 registrants for SXSW Interactive and SXSW Film. For Music, over 2,000 groups from over 50 countries converge on the city performing on over 90 stages over six days. For music professionals, SXSW has become a pivotal moment in the year to meet record labels, booking agents, PR agencies, distribution companies, and the industry in general. In addition to the performances, registrants have access to panels, workshops, interviews, expositions, keynote speakers and more. Past SXSW Music Keynote speakers include Bob Geldof, Quincy Jones, Lou Reed, Robert Plant, Lucinda Williams, Johnny Cash, and Neil Young. In regards to expos, the Music Gear Expo focuses on music instruments, recording equipment, software and more while Flatstock 33, displays the art of over 100 North American and international artists.
Originally conceived as a way to draw music to Austin after being isolated by its geographic location in the middle of the United States, the enormous number of performances of up-and-coming artists remains the primary draw of SXSW. During SXSW Music, the music starts each day at noon and runs until 2:00 AM mostly around 6th and Red River Streets. Both streets are closed to vehicular traffic, leaving the pavement and sidewalks to guitarists, drummers, bassists, songwriters, promoters, agents, label representatives, concert bookers, media, and everyone in between. It’s one of the few festivals that encompass all music genres with artists at all stages of development.
The industry focus of South by Southwest sets it apart from traditional music festivals. What once focused on drawing industry professionals from New York City to Los Angeles and everywhere in between to conduct business and experience up-and-coming music talent, the influence of SXSW now draws professionals from throughout the world and across industries. One such confluence is the Music Startup Village and Interactive Startup Village. The two villages provide mentoring, networking, pitch events, and opportunities for entrepreneurs to meet with investors, media representatives, and digital creatives. Past music speakers that represent this confluence include Matthew Adell of Napster, Tom Anderson of MySpace, Glenn Otis Brown of YouTube and Twitter, Joe Cuello of MTV, Christopher Kaskie of Pitchfork, and Ian Rogers of Topspin among many others. Another example in recent years has been the increasing reputation of SXSW Film as an essential film festival to attend for professionals. In 2012, 132 features were screened including 74 world premieres. It is increasingly common for professionals from one festival to attend and network in other portions of SXSW, thus creating a one-stop shop for music, new technology and film on a global level.
Bureau Export is at SXSW each year with our operation entitled France Rocks Austin. For the French music industry, Bureau Export’s New York office participates during SXSW in order to promote French and “Made in France” music through developing our network of local contacts and partners, discovering new industry trends and practices, and supporting French music through two showcases highlighting up and coming talent. For SXSW 2012, the New York office of Bureau Export organized two parties with the assistance of of Angers Loire Valley and The Agency Group featuring over 17 French artists.
In partnership with Bureau Export.