Started in 2011, The Buffalo Lounge is a showcase for the Sooner State’s artists at the massive music, film and interactive festival that is SXSW. Its first year was a rousing success.
“We went down there, and it could have flopped,” said Daniel Walcher, a singer/songwriter who played that initial outing. “But instead, people thought, ‘Holy cow!’ It has grown exponentially. I know a lot of people who are excited every year to see what’s coming out of Oklahoma.”
The Buffalo Lounge’s rise has mirrored SXSW’s rise in miniature. Originally started as a local music festival in 1987, SXSW has grown into one of the world’s largest industry events for entertainment professionals: a 10-day smorgasbord that crams more than 60,000 thought leaders into an already bustling city.
The heart of the action is Sixth Street, where every bar and restaurant sports a makeshift stage to host the newest crop of bands trying to make it big.
For 2013’s edition, The Buffalo Lounge is moving from its original, small home at Friends Bar to the large, two-story venue The 512, 408 E. Sixth.
“We were looking to expand. Friends had been a very good venue for us, but we needed a lot more space,” said Ginger Roddick, partner with the The Idea Collective, a brand marketer that helped found and continues to work with The Buffalo Lounge.
In both official and unofficial showcases, The Buffalo Lounge will showcase 43 Oklahoma artists (see the full list below), but the big number doesn’t diminish the quality of the acts or the invite.
“It’s a huge deal to be asked to play South by Southwest,” said Walcher. “I don’t know any bands that wouldn’t be honored to play an official showcase.”
Those SXSW showcases are indeed a big deal. Broncho and Colourmusic were covered by several national news sources at 2011’s lounge. These sets can make or break a band, and The 512’s spot right in the middle of the action allows Oklahoma bands to take advantage of the powerful pop-culture zoo that mills about on the closed-to-traffic Sixth Street for the week.
“The idea was to have the iconic Sixth Street in the background while our bands are playing,” said Roddick. “But The Buffalo Lounge isn’t just about the SXSW week. The impact goes far beyond it, as attendees from all over the country and the world take the
lounge experience and new knowledge of the artists home with them. By
being one of only a handful of state entities to host official SXSW
parties, we provide an outlet to promote our state to a global
43 from the 405 (and the 918)
Beau Jennings & the Tigers
The Del Toros
Depth & Current
Desi and Cody
Dustin Pittsley Band
The Lower 40
Modern Rock Diaries
My So-Called Band
Paul Benjaman Band
Stardeath and White Dwarfs
We the Ghost
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for on-the-scene reports at SXSW 2013.