A showcase of Tulsa talent will head south to represent the city at the annual South by Southwest Conference and Festival in Austin next month.
Performing at the official Tulsa Music Showcase, the first time Tulsa has been featured in an official nighttime stage, are pop stars Hanson, Casii Stephan and the Midnight Sun, Wink Burcham, RVRB and Broncho. Music will start during the day, with a showcase of artists playing the Tulsa Boom Factory day party, which will feature Lauren Barth, Mike Dee + Stone Trio, The Ivy, NUNS, Branjae and Travis Linville.
Officials with the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture made the announcement Thursday in the lobby of the BOK Center. Abby Kurin, director of the Tulsa Office of Film, Music Arts and Culture, said the expanded showcase shows Tulsa’s “continued and ever-growing presence” at the annual festival.
“So many other big cities are present down there,” Kurin said. “With Tulsa joining those ranks solidifies what we’re trying to do.”
Tulsa FMAC took its first showcase to SXSW in 2015, sponsoring a day party called the Tulsa Boom Factory that showed off Tulsa talent in music, as well as entrepreneurs. Last year’s Tulsa Boom Factory featured Leon Russell as headliner.
“South by (Southwest) really took notice,” Kurin said, and “offered our first ever showcase.”
Tulsa will be featured alongside other cities like Chicago and showcases from other countries, all promoting what makes their city unique, Kurin said.
Jeff Nickler, general manager of SMG Tulsa, which operates the BOK Center, said their involvement each of the three years has helped show Tulsa as a regional hub of culture to people who would normally not have had the chance to see it.
“We believe it’s important to promote Tulsa as a creative and cultural hub, and I can’t think of a better place to promote that than the thousands of entrepreneurs at South by Southwest,” Nickler said.
Last year was also the first year for the “Created in Tulsa” trade show booth, which shows off the different aspects of Tulsa’s creative community, and is set to return this year. Some of the groups representing a wide swath of Tulsa’s creative class at the trade show include The Mine, Woody Guthrie Center, Circle Cinema, the Blue Whale Comedy Festival, Tulsa American Film Festival, XPO Game Festival, YelpTulsa, VisitTulsa, Webb Branding and the MetKnow app.
“It’s not just about music, it’s about promoting Tulsa as a whole,” Kurin said.
Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world attend the annual two-week festival, which features music and film, as well as an interactive portion that highlights entrepreneurs and development. The “Created in Tulsa” book will highlight the app MetKnow, developed by Will Edwards as a way for companies and organizations to help their employees get to know one another through games and puzzles. Now available nationally, Edwards said Tulsa has helped cultivate the company’s success.
“It’s given us a great base, great platform to grow,” he said.
The “Created in Tulsa” booth at the South by Southwest trade show will run from March 12-15. The music events start with the third Tulsa Boom Factory at 11 a.m. March 16 at the Bungalow on Rainey, 92 Rainey St. in Austin. The Tulsa Music Showcase is at the same location starting at 7 p.m.