Anna Lewis

Wales at SXSW 2015

Wales Arts International supported three Welsh bands to attend South by South West 2015, all of which created an exciting hype about new music from Wales.

Paper Aeroplanes, Golden Fable and The People The Poet were all invited to play official showcases at this year’s festival, which took place 17-22 March 2015. Wales’ presence at the festival was co-ordinated by Cerdd Cymru: Music Wales, with support from Welsh Government. There was a dedicated networking event for musicians and the industry to meet artists and delegates from Wales, and Cerdd Cymru: Music Wales also partnered a showcase at the British Music Embassy (BME) with Radio 1’s Huw Stephens. Welsh acts Catfish and the Bottlemen and Until the Ribbon Breaks also showcased during this event at the BME, as well as others from across the UK.

The People The Poet were one of the bands selected as a part of Horizons 12, 2014 – links to their artist videos and photos can be found below. They worked extremely hard throughout their time in Austin to talk to as many people as possible, and promote their showcases and music far and wide. They have returned with a strong new fan base and managed to secure a showcase at Liverpool Sound City in May 2015. They played to packed audiences in the British Music Embassy, and were invited to feature in Dermot O’Leary’s Radio 2 Session from Austin.

Tyla Campbell from the band shared with us his advice for bands showcasing: "My one top tip to any bands playing out there for the first time would be to make sure you stick around and chat to the crowd after you play as you never know who you might end up talking to! It's also a good way of interacting to any new fans you may have just won over"

The People The Poet Videos:

The People The Poet Images:

Golden Fable already had links with the US through the company BMG Chrysalis, but playing SXSW gave them a new opportunity to connect with audiences, musicians and businesses in the US. They worked with drummer Ross Gilfillan from the Austin band, Black Books, for their showcases which enabled them to access a different side of the Austin music industry. They also visited The Orb Studios and filmed a live session for Thrillbox whilst there.

Golden Fable had two main things to recommend to future showcasers at SXSW based on their own experience: research backline/transformers and get to Austin before the festival.

"We played our official showcase with bands that were travelling from all corners of the globe, and although it was a great ice-breaker teaming up with them to share equipment, it can be very stressful trying to hire things whilst in Austin. Understandably, if you're an out-of-town band that needs to hire equipment, you need to put a deposit equalling the value of the gear before you hire. It's definitely worth befriending a local to help out if you can!

Get to Austin before the festival starts. SXSW is a truly amazing experience, and we really benefited from being in the area before the whole thing kicks off - it's a great way to get your bearings and get a feel for the city. Don't just stick to official SXSW activities either - some of the best things we did weren't directly involved with the festival, such as recording a live session at The Orb studios or going to see one of the many brilliant unofficial showcases."

Find out more about Golden Fable and listen to their music here:

Paper Aeroplanes have been touring in Europe for a few years but this was the first chance for them to cross the Atlantic to perform. They participated in a number of press opportunities, here’s a podcast they did with Elen from WAI,

They met a number of interesting contacts at SXSW and managed to get some key industry representatives at their showcase, resulting in an offer to showcase at NXNE, in Toronto 17-21 June 2015.

We asked the band about some advice they’d give to showcasing acts at SXSW, and Sarah responded: "My advice would be to go to a few of the seminars and key notes as they can be really useful and the best way to meet interesting people, when you stick around afterwards. Stay as near to town as possible as you can get fully involved in the action whenever you’re not playing a show. We found it useful to have a few business cards or some flyers with all your show times on to spread the word if someone is interested in coming to something. Whilst everyone tends to be handing them out, they are a useful tool. And try a hot dog at Franks! "

More images from their time in Austin can be found here:

We’d like to say a huge congratulations to the bands who worked very hard to ensure they made the most out of the opportunity at SXSW – well done!

We will have more images from SXSW over the coming weeks, and will post them on our Facebook page


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