British Music Embassy to host UK SXSW showcases

'All British Music Embassy partners are committed to showing their support for those that have taken a hit and it’s for this reason we have decided to host these sessions.'

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 13 Mar 2020
  • min read

The British Music Embassy partners have announced that they will be hosting three studio sessions in support of bands that were set to play at SXSW.

The BME is the official annual UK residency at SXSW, hosting a number of events and showcases throughout the conference. Partners include PRS for Music, PPL, AIM, the BPI and the Department for International Trade (DIT).

The sessions will take place behind closed doors, utilising radio and social media to broadcast the performances to the wider music community.

The Austin TX festival, SXSW, was cancelled last Friday amid fears of the coronavirus outbreak, leaving the music industry reeling.

‘We are devastated to share this news with you’, a statement on the official SXSW website read. ‘The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.’

They continued: ‘We understand the gravity of the situation for all the creatives who utilize SXSW to accelerate their careers; for the global businesses; and for Austin and the hundreds of small businesses – venues, theatres, vendors, production companies, service industry staff, and other partners that rely so heavily on the increased business that SXSW attracts.’

In a joint statement, the British Music Embassy partners, said: ‘Needless to say, we are absolutely devastated about the cancellation of SXSW – for music creators, for their teams and for SXSW itself. The knock-on impact that this, and all other event cancellations due to the coronavirus, may have on our industry is deeply concerning. All British Music Embassy partners are committed to showing their support for those that have taken a hit and it’s for this reason we have decided to host these sessions. Performing at SXSW can be a career-changing opportunity and we have to ensure it has not been entirely lost this year.'

A wealth of PRS for Music members were due to play across the festival, including bands Hotel Lux and Italia 90, who had both set up crowd funders in order to make it possible.

Meanwhile, PRS Foundation had funded the trips of 44 grantees as part of their International Showcase Fund.

Joe Frankland, chief executive, PRS Foundation, said: 'We’re devastated for all the music creators due to attend this year’s SXSW. We know the 40+ artists and songwriters we are supporting through our International Showcase Fund and BBC Music Introducing & PRS Foundation showcase initiatives were set to reap the rewards of such a big opportunity, and we are supporting them to minimise the impact of the cancellation. We’re absolutely delighted the UK music industry has pulled together so quickly to create this platform and showcase opportunity as well as the many others around the UK such as in Wales at Clwb Ifor Bach and Gullivers in Manchester.’

PRS Foundation have released an FAQ guide on their website for grantees who were due to travel to Austin for SXSW.

Bands and artists set to perform over the next three days include Aaron Smith, Arlo Parks, Bess Atwell, Liz Lawrence, Jordan Mackampa, Porridge Radio, Kokoroko and Steam Down, with more to be announced soon.