Nothing like taking an overnight flight and then having to sit through half a day of seminars - but that is how my adventures at South By Southwest 2009 started off. Landed in Austin around 930am, made a beeline for the aforementioned Travelodge, dropped off the bags and caught the SXSW shuttle down to the Convention Center.
First up was a "Quickie Session" on Promotions, Publicity & Press. Sounds a little suspect, but it was actually a speed-dating style gathering where the attendees were divided into several tables of about 5 or so, and we got to have around 10 minutes speaking with one of several industry experts. The experts would then rotate tables so we could speak to the next one...and so forth. I attended a couple of these over the subsequent days and found it to be an interesting setup. I've already followed up with several of these folks to thank them and heard back from a couple. Just good to know of some people in the business.
Then, three back-to-back panel discussions where we basically sat in a lecture center and listened to a panel of 2 to 5 industry people speak on certain topics. I attended panels on Artist Management, Getting Gigs and Online Resources. The latter being, by far, the most comprehensive and fruitful session I attended during the festival. Online is where it's at folks. I was planning on attending a fourth panel on Merchandising, but couldn't quite make it any further without getting some food and then sleep, so...off to the Travelodge for a few-hour crash.
I headed back downtown late that night to catch my first musical showcase. It was the 90's 4-hit wonder, Fastball. The showcases featured short sets, mostly in small, hole-in-the-wall bars. This one was pretty good. They get brownie points for playing their biggest hits, which, as I'll write later, some acts feel is unnecessary. Overall grade: B+
More to come...