Michigan House once again aims to offer ‘breath of fresh air’ and ‘authentic’ Mitten State vibe amid the craziness of world’s largest music festival and conference in Austin next month.
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Trading the dreary winter cold for the Texas sun, Michigan House will return once again to this year’s South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Conference and Festival for the fourth time, providing an oasis of Michigan creativity amid the sprawling Austin conference.
Facilitated by Creative Many and Middle West, with support from numerous Michigan businesses, the pop-up space will operate from March 10-12 at St. Dave’s Episcopal Church and conclude with a Michigan Music Showcase on March 13 at local music venue, Stay Gold.
“We’ve done this a few times and I feel like the first couple of years we were sort of a small ripple within this huge conference and finally we’re starting to get the participation and also we have the experience to create a really cool venue at South by Southwest,” said organizer Ted Velie.
“It’s going to be this real opportunity for people from the state of Michigan to have an interesting place within that larger international festival. I feel like we’re finally to a point where we can kind of matter at South By, more so than we could have two years ago and that’s something I’m really excited about.”
Performers this year come from all over Michigan and include Tunde Olaniran, Lady Ace Boogie, Nydge, Kid Vishis, Major Murphy, Onefreq, Nique Love Rhodes & the NLR Experience, Bernard Lavengood & Stovetop, Mother Cyborg, Alexander Lynch, Dogleg and Vespre.
(Michigan House also is hosting a pair of fund-raising shows to help artists headed to SXSW with their expenses. The first took place last weekend at The Little Fleet in Traverse City with Onefreq, The NLR Experience, Major Murphy and DJ AB; the second will be held Thursday, Feb. 22 at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with Nydge, Alexander Lynch, Lady Ace Boogie and Madelyn Grant. Details here.)
The March 13 showcase at the Stay Gold nightclub in Austin will start at 4 p.m. that Tuesday; stay tuned to Local Spins for details about watching a live-stream broadcast of the event as well as a related Grand Rapids event for those that can’t make the trip to Austin for SXSW.
In addition to live performances, Michigan House will facilitate panel discussions and group sessions ranging a broad range of topics such as “Strategies for Neighborhood Health in Michigan,” “Water Insights from the Great Lakes,” “The Tech Hustle,” and “Making the Future of Mobility.”
Featured speakers include Former NFL player and current host of CNBC’s Adventure Capitalist Dhani Jones, Chris Denson of the podcast Innovation Crush, and Darel Ross of Start Garden.
This year’s event also features a prolific art competition with a sizable reward which will take place on March 12. Five Michigan artists will have the opportunity (five minutes to be exact) to pitch large-scale installation ideas. The winner will receive a $15,000 cash prize to be used for their piece, which will then be displayed at Calder Plaza during Artprize 10.
Another notable event has Innovation Crush’s Chris Denson discussing his book, “Crushing the Box.”
“We have our official panels, all of which I think are pretty stacked with really smart, intelligent movers and shakers within the state and we touch on a number of issues,” said Velie. “We try to create a show itself that is as diverse and interesting as the state of Michigan.”
Joining the SXSW roster for the first time is Detroit artist Nydge (Nigel Hemmye) who recently concluded a winter tour with Flint Eastwood. The electronic artist will perform a set of “dance-able jams assisted by some keys and samples.”
“I’m really excited to be playing at SXSW. I’ve actually never been,” said Hemmye. “From what everyone has told me it’s going to be a wild, busy time. Which are both adjectives I enjoy.”
As usual, Michigan House will be adorned by all things Michigan. Beverages, food and even furniture from The Mitten will occupy the space with hopes of bringing a taste of the Midwest to the Southwest.
“There’s a lot of design elements meant to kind of call you back to Michigan. The goal is to create a Michigan scene within the bigger South by Southwest festival,” said Velie.
“South By Southwest is such a huge international event. I think what we bring is an authentic taste of the Midwest to it. Often times at something like this, it’s just sort of dominated by Silicon Valley or New York or L.A., or even Austin.
“So to have a space that is designed with Michigan and the Midwest in mind, I think it’s a different voice that doesn’t often get heard on this kind of a big stage. I think that makes us a little bit of a breath of fresh air in all that craziness.”
VIDEO: Tunde Olaniran, “Namesake”
VIDEO: Lady Ace Boogie, “No Hook” (Live)
VIDEO: Major Murphy, “Oceans”
VIDEO: Nydge x Norty (ft. Kameryn Ogden), “Circumstances”
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