Since 2009, the Oklahoma Film & Music Office (OF&MO) has been our agent down south, working with local creatives, media and sponsors to turn that nice thought into a reality. What began as a modest, one-day showcase of Okie talent (that drew some 700 attendees) has grown into a multiday experience branded as the Buffalo Lounge; in 2011, it lured tens of thousands of visitors to its trade show and concert showcases.
“Last year, we were selling an idea. This year, it’s concrete,” said Abby Kurin, OF&MO development coordinator.
Kurin is handling the logistics of the Buffalo Lounge’s return trip to SXSW, whose music component begins Tuesday. The lounge includes appearances at the trade show, film and interactive parties to offer free swag, live karaoke (“rockaraoke”) and the pièce de résistance: performances by more than 35 Oklahoma acts.
When Buffalo Lounge sets up shop Monday at Friends Bar on East 6th Street until it shuts down at 2 a.m. Friday, it’ll be as if visitors had walked north across the Red River, with two official SXSW Oklahoma music showcases (8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday) and three unofficial ones, including a Thursday party featuring talent from ACM@UCO.
“Last year, the venue ... was just packed,” said The Defining Times singer Chase Kerby. “In a few days, Oklahoma left a pretty damn good impression. It’s about time.”
This SXSW voyage will be Kerby’s fifth, but only his third to play, and his first as The Defining Times’ vocalist, for which he’s thankful.
“We got the turn-down email, and I thought ... well, three EPs in a year isn’t bad,” Kerby said.
Luckily for his group, SXSW’s music committee wrote back a few days later to inform the members that their fortunes had been reversed.
Regardless, Kerby was never worried — the Buffalo Lounge had his band’s back.
“Everybody there has been super-supportive. We were lucky enough to get a showcase, but their day parties are being filled with bands that didn’t get an official showcase,” Kerby said. “Getting the chance to get bands down in Austin from Oklahoma, and giving them a chance to play, get exposure and get experience is awesome. That’s really commendable of them.”
Said Kurin, “We’re just trying to make sure all of Oklahoma is covered.” Head over to OKSee for a listing of local bands' SXSW sets.