Warning on piggybacking or parallel music fest opportunities - MusicNSW

Australian musicians, songwriters, managers and labels are being targetted by the Red Gorilla Music Fest which is trying to extract fees for submissions to be accepted to play at this event which has been scheduled during the same week as South by Southwest in Austin Texas.

In a cunning ploy that may confuse artists into believing they can play during SxSWeek and get the same sort of attention and audience as the 1500 SxSW invited bands do, Red Gorilla has, for the past two years, solicited entries from Australian and other overseas bands who do not have any hope of obtaining the necessary US visa to play the event in time, thereby losing their entry fee. All entry fees are non-refundable.

Red Gorilla makes their money by pandering to the hopes and aspirations of striving artists who have the dream of breaking into the US market through SxSW. In their cleverly worded release and invite, they make the pitch.

“January 18, 2008 — RedGorilla Music Fest is accepting submissions from bands, solo artists, and DJs to showcase at RedGorilla Music Fest in Austin, TX on March 12-15, 2008. RedGorilla Music Fest takes place during one of the most important music weeks in the year. It is the music industry’s premier destination for the year, and thousands of fans and music industry professionals descend upon Austin to network and check out new talent at the various music festivals around town. RedGorilla Music Fest offers showcase slots to bands and solo artists so that they can take advantage of this excellent opportunity.”

The deadline to submit is February 1 and with visas costing US$2500 minimum and even with a $1000 priority fee, the time it takes to process and return a US visa to Australian and New Zealand artists surpasses six weeks. Therefore, those artists who do not already have valid visas risk being deported if discovered and we give this warning to them and their managers or labels to steer clear of this and other events that use the timing and cachet of SxSW to run their own moneymaking schemes off the backs and wallets of musicians.