Serving the Voices at SXSW
By: Taylor Adkins
When I found out about a year ago that I would be moving from Virginia to San Antonio Texas, I knew that I would only be a couple hours away from one of the largest music festivals in the world: SXSW. Having just come on staff with RYFO as the Artist Coordinator, I began working on a plan with our staff to have a presence at SXSW in order to build new band relationships and deepen our existing ones. As we began working on plans for SXSW, I reached out to David Stagg (owner and CEO of HM Magazine) to get his feedback about the needs he sees most with the bands he interviews. Before I knew it, he was offering RYFO the opportunity to be a part of their SXSW Showcase. This was the door into the festival that we’d been looking for!
Fast forward a couple months and I am arriving at The Ranch in Austin, TX to kickoff a day full of great music. The showcase lineup included performances from Yesterday as Today, Darkness Divided, Silent Planet, Phinehas, Everyone Dies in Utah, ’68 (first ever live performance), and Sleeping Giant. As a long time reader of HM Magazine, I couldn’t have felt more blessed to have a role in the showcase. I got to the venue around noon and met David Stagg for the first time in person. He expressed how excited he was to have RYFO partnering with them for the showcase.
Shortly after my arrival the Harvey’s (shown below) arrived, RYFO’s Host Home family in Cedar Park, TX, just north of Austin. While I was the staff member at SXSW, they were the seasoned veterans! The Harvey’s have been hosting bands long before RYFO began, they run their own venue, and Ian Harvey is in the band UGLYTWIN who has had the opportunity to share the stage with many of the bands RYFO serves. The Harvey’s arranged to order and pick up all the food for the bands that day and even brought care packages in the form of a plate of home made cookies for all the bands in attendance.
Before and during the showcase I had the opportunity to speak with many of the performing band members about our desire to have the church walk alongside them as artists and for RYFO to be a medium for that opportunity to take place. Between the hugs, prayers, and even some tears shed by members of bands I spoke with, one thing is for sure…these bands need RYFO! I don’t mean RYFO as in our staff, RYFO the brand, or RYFO the website, but RYFO in terms of the missionaries that make up our organization.
There are many temptations, struggles, and obstacles that plague bands with doubt, depression, and loneliness out on the road. The time spent away from close friends and families can be incredibly tough. These bands are pouring everything they have into their art with few opportunities to be poured into. I want every single person involved with RYFO to know the impact you are having on the lives of these musicians and the ripple effect in their own lives and the multitudes of people they reach with their music.
Thank you to all of our volunteers, the Harvey’s, David Stagg, HM Magazine, the bands who allow us to bless them, and to God for giving RYFO the vision and the opportunity to show the love of Christ by being a servant to these bands. We look forward to many more opportunities to continue Serving the Voices!