The Road to SXSW 2011 - Flipron's story

With determination, hard work and a few helping hands along the way, Flipron have landed a coveted spot to perform at SXSW 2011. Frontman Jesse Budd tells us how

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 2 Feb 2011
  • min read
SXSW (South by SouthWest) is one of the most revered music events in the industry, showcasing hundreds of musical acts from around the globe on over eighty stages in Austin, Texas.  Flipron performed in the PRS for Music 'Almost Famous' showcase in 2009. With determination, hard work and a few helping hands along the way, they have landed a coveted spot to perform at SXSW 2011.  Frontman Jesse Budd tells us how

Many British artists want to play at SXSW. It's a superb opportunity to play to a huge concentration of decision makers from the US and worldwide music industry. It also sends a message to those that aren't going that your music is worth taking note of. So having applied before and only made it to the reserve list, we are delighted to have been invited to perform in 2011.

Almost certainly, what helped this time was having played a short US tour last September. We were getting plenty of American internet traffic, so decided to take a chance with some gigs there.

However, like most musicians we have no spare money, no inheritance, no pension - no rich uncles! We knew that we would have to fund everything ourselves - that meant good old-fashioned saving up. Every penny we earned for a year that wasn't paying for band essentials like the van's MOT, rehearsals and fuel went into it. Our residency at last year's Edinburgh Festival saw us living in our van for ten days straight, washing in buckets and cooking on a camping stove!

Incredibly, we met the terrifying costs of flights, insurance, transport, instrument hire and an immigration lawyer to submit our Visa application, without which it would have been very difficult to have all the paperwork ready in time. This was off-set by the great relationships we have with our fans and the people we work with,  so we got plenty for free!

My guess is that in spite of the billions that the world's music industry makes each year a huge proportion of its grassroots functions as a result of the goodwill between artists, fans, small independent labels, managers, publishers and friends who just help each other out. Good examples of this being the American PR company who sent out hundreds of CDs for us solely for the cost of postage and the fans who put up posters, used their airmiles to book us hotel rooms and bombarded radio stations to play our music.

So although our American gigs cost us thousands, we played to publishers, music supervisors, agents and managers and had reviews in music papers and websites across America .This created just enough of a buzz to get us accepted for SXSW. Now we start the whole thing all over again!

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the M editorial team or PRS for Music.

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