In Part 1 we established you have decided to attend music week in Austin TX during SXSW. So now what? You need to establish a budget. I know, you are musicians not accountants. I get it. But, you need to have some idea what this musical adventure will cost. If you are a solo artist it will cost more because you cannot split that amongst your bandmates.

The number 1 thing to consider is distance. How far away are you from Austin? Is it a 1 day drive a 2 day drive or what? Are you able to fly? Or will you take my advice and develop a tour to Austin? Play your way there and play your way back. No matter what you decide you will still need a budget. 

At this point, I think you need to “leak” to your fans. “Great news! The Region Rats are playing in Austin, TX for music week DURING SXSW!” (Remember you are not playing South By Southwest) “More exciting details to follow!” Now let’s work on those details.

Let us focus on the number 1 thing you should do at this point. Find the right venue where you can keep the entire admission charge as a donation for your tour. This should be in or very near your hometown. This is going to be your tour kick-off show. This will give you a chance to raise substantial donations from your fans and friends by doing what you do best. This is much more appealing and fan friendly than crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is overdone and pretty much annoying to all involved. The amount of work needed in setting up a crowdfunding program and then maintaining it is really a pain in the behind. Plus, you have to give away rewards that costs you more money and work. Which is better; playing music or working?

So you have the venue set up. You need to make a big deal out of this show. This is allowing you to advance your career and make a splash during the largest independent music festival in the world. It is a great opportunity that can be leveraged for even more possibilities. Network within your local scene and talk about what you are doing and where you are going.Get in touch with local press and radio. Blow up your social media. Generate and build excitement. Find someone locally to do a photo shoot at the event and possibly also get some video footage. Capturing digital content is paramount to the overall success of this tour and festival experience. 

In Part 3 of this series we will discuss booking the front end of the tour.

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About the Author: Jeff Popka is the Co-Founder of Texas Indie Fest and has been attending SXSW since 2011. He is the Co-Founder of Tune City and the CEO of Indie on Air Records. He is a published music journalist with ION Indie Magazine

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