On March 15, Budweiser is bringing its Country Club experience—featuring outdoor games, a popup shop and custom leather koozies—to South by Southwest for the the first single-sponsor showcase dedicated to country music.
Country music acts like Old Crow Medicine Show, Kane Brown and Elle King will perform the stage at Fair Market in Austin, Texas. The beer behemoth worked with Sony Music Nashville to curate the artist lineup, which also includes emerging acts like The Sisterhood Band, Levon, Tenille Townes and Colin Elmore & The Danville Train.
“As the country music genre has continued to change, Budweiser has changed with it,” said Ryan Mortimer, senior director of experiential, music and entertainment, at Budweiser. “Over the last couple years we’ve really put a stake in the ground with our stand on country music and looked at an event like SXSW, which is really the kickoff for festival season.”
In 2016, Budweiser created its Country Club experience for country music festivals like Stagecoach and Faster Horses. Experiential agency Engine Shop is behind the Country Club experience as well as the upcoming SXSW country showcase.
With the Country Club experience and the SXSW showcase, Budweiser has worked to give country fans a meaningful experience so that it is “investing time carefully on experiences that are really worth it but create a long-term tie for the brand,” explained Ricardo Marques, vp of marketing for Budweiser.
“SXSW is a place is all about what brands are doing on the foreground, what they are doing that’s new, and this is an opportunity for Bud to pioneer a genre at SXSW in a way that hasn’t been done before,” said Mortimer. “That’s really difficult to do within SXSW. There’s so many brands, so much happening, but the opportunity for us to come at a new angle and come with something fresh is why we saw a new opportunity.”
While country musicians have certainly been part of SXSW before, a dedicated music showcase featuring only country stars from one brand is unique.
“Budweiser participating at SXSW 2018 with their Budweiser Country Club experience highlights the country focused aspects of SXSW and we’re excited to celebrate the diversity in creative innovation at SXSW.” said Scott McNearney, SXSW director of global sponsorship.
Doors at the venue, Fair Market in Austin, will open at 6:00 P.M. with 1,000 attendees expected.