Photo Credit: Joe Robinson

SXSW is the first major festival to kick off the year in music, media, and more. The week-long entertainment fest in Austin, Texas is always a popular attraction for people from all over the world. With an average attendance of 300K people every year, there’s always fun and excitement throughout the venues and stages at SXSW.

APX Management head-honcho Joe Robinson knows the SXSW circuit very well. As a manager, he’s thrown three sold-out events with artists on the bill such as Earlly Mac, Prada Leary, Supakaine, Chuck English, and more. With his “Year 4” event on the horizon, he decided to share ten tips on how artists can get the most out of their trip to SXSW.

Tip 1. Submit your SXSW information early:

“You must submit your information to SXSW early if you want to get on the official stages. This must be done far in advance because there are 300K people at SXSW each year. They start picking through artists early, but if you don’t submit your information in time, there are plenty of stages which you can be a part of.”

Tip 2. Subsidize your trip:

“Flights to SXSW start at 400-500 dollars. If you live within 20 hours of Texas, you and whomever you’re coming with should subsidize the trip, so it can be affordable for everyone. Going to SXSW is f— expensive, so plan-ahead of schedule. Look for various travel and lodging options when going down to the event.”

Tip 3. Artists need to have music already in rotation:

“Putting music out nowadays is easier than ever. It must be good, quality music though. I would encourage people music out 60-90 days from the event, so people can live with the music and attach themselves to it.”

Photo credit: APX Management

Tip 4. Don’t be afraid to spend marketing dollars:

“Market yourself beforehand. Invest in a publicist who knows what they’re doing. Invest in platforms. There are tons of ways to make relationships.”

Tip 5. Line up as many shows as possible, but keep quality and your sanity in mind:

“At SXSW, you want to do as many shows as possible, but you only can be in so many places at one time, so do some research. You want to do the shows that fit your brand the best, and that requires time to prepare and rehearse.”

Tip 6. Don’t spam:

“Don’t go down to SXSW and pass out flyers, mixtapes, and flash-drives like frisbees. Also, don’t go down to SXSW and make yourself look desperate. People come down to SXSW to enjoy themselves and they don’t want to be hounded by music and information. Take it easy.”

Photo credit: APX Management

Tip 7. Stay ready for anything:

“When you bump into Important people at SXSW, make sure all the mess is off social media pages. Eliminate some of the meme’s and funny videos because people want to see what you’re good at. Have music on a flash drive. Be prepared.”

Tip 8. Managers… stay focused:

“It’s hard to keep adults together because everyone wants to do their own thing. It would be wise if you book your artists on the same show, if possible. Be prepared to send emails, share social media pages, and contact information. Get a street team. You should be sticking close to the artists… not passing out flyers.”

Tip 9. Document the trip:

“Record everything. From the ride down to Texas to the shows and performances, get everything on film. Artists need to show people that they have charisma and personality, so document the whole trip. Invest in a photographer or video equipment.”

Tip 10. Relax:

“Artists need to stay cool. If SXSW doesn’t work out, it isn’t the end of your career. There are more ways than one to skin a cat. Don’t overthink. Don’t panic. Just maintain yourself.”

Andre Ellington

Detroit Native. Curator of Media.