Kansas City will not descend quietly upon Austin next week if the Gusto Lounge's Josh Martinez has anything to do with it.
"If you can't knock on the front door, smash the back door in," Martinez says. Midwasteland Takeover, a 32-act collective complete with scenester hangers-on, is Martinez's battering ram, and it's set to bombard Austin March 18-20.
Having lived in Austin and worked on past South By Southwest parties, Martinez is an old hand at organizing festival events. Joining him as organizers are Billy Smith (of Czar Bar), Steve Tulipana (of RecordBar) and the Midwest Music Foundation. Dan Myers of Gnarly Enterprises hopes to shoot a documentary.
"Usually when you go to South By, you'll set up by the side of a street and start playing," Martinez says. "What I wanted to do was help them get that exposure by setting up a venue where I know I can get industry people to pay attention to them."
"It's a long way to go just to play 30 minutes and maybe only play to Kansas City people," Tulipana adds. "We're trying to go down with a party attitude." That shouldn't be hard, with Boulevard Brewery supplying beer and Starker's Restaurant filling the bands' bellies.
Martinez, Smith and Tulipana hope to catch the eyes of higher-ups at the festival — and secure an official showcase slot at the 2011 event — with a giant projection screen, a building-sized vinyl banner, and a CD compilation. Exposure is key. "I tell all these bands: You don't know who you're standing next to when you're in line to get a beer or go to the bathroom. It may be the talent buyer for a TV show or a music supervisor for movies," Martinez says. "The sky's the limit."
Click here to read a longer interview with Martinez.