This week saw the first hints of what’s to come from the annual British Music Embassy showcase at SXSW, now in it’s 13th year. Having attended every one of them going back to 2007, the BME has always been curated at Latitude 30, complete with a branded transformation that extends to the venue’s external brick walls. But it’s a new decade and a new “larger home” for BME at Cedar Street Courtyard, which is itself a historical site of many a SX festivities and shows over the years (two favs that come to mind are Primal Scream and Peaches).
Although Cedar Street is more of a walk from the heart of activity near the convention center where Latitude 30 is located, the move makes sense. The showcase has grown in popularity, which causes consistent queues out the door when capacity is reached, leaving those outside left to just listen to the show they’re missing, or if they’re lucky, they’re in a spot to see through the open window.
This showcase is, in a sense, it’s own mini-festival within SXSW, with parties and music business events during the day along with the evening showcases, promising 58 music sets in all. We’ve also seen BME expand its programming into the early days of SX when Interactive is in full swing, enabling a breadth of UK talent from numerous genres to share their talents with American and international music fans, many performing for the first time on U.S. soil.
The Introducing program is as it sounds, showcasing bands that may be new to audiences going to shows in Austin but to music fans in the UK and Europe, these acts have gained musical ground with fans and on the British airwaves. Two years ago this month The Orielles released their debut album on Heavenly, “Silver Dollar Moment” and in 2017 Steam Down was created by multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Ahnansé, which led to a full gig dance card for the collective last year.
BBC Radio 6 Music’s band leader during SXSW is veteran radio host and music journalist Steve Lamacq, who has no doubt played a heavy role in picking the line up for their night on the BME schedule. 2010 will mark 10 years since BBC 6 Music seemed to be the chopping block, but after an outcry from fans and industry folks alike – and was a hot topic during the 2010 Digital Planet SXSW panel session – the influential music station is alive and thriving more than ever.
So far we’ve got details on two dates with more announcements expected, and as they’re released we’ll bring them your way. Even with this early peek, I know from experience that there will be many more ear goodies to come.
Wednesday, March 18 – Presented by BBC Radio 6 Music in Association with the BPI, featuring Steve Lamacq (will he do a Roundtable session the next day at SXSW?):
Thursday, March 19 – Presented by BBC Introducing and PRS Foundation, featuring Radio 1 host, Huw Stephens:
For more information on this year’s vast expanse of programming go to SXSW, taking place March 13 – 22.