Border Radio Rubs Shoulders
with the Sundance Festival 2012

By Kelly McCune

PCTV3Many months ago we applied for a showcase opportunity that would take place during the Sundance Film Festival 2012 in Park City, Utah. Access Film Music, an independent organization that puts musicians in front of film and television executives, hoping for connection, hosts the showcases. We found out in late November that we had been selected, and started figuring out how we were going to get there!

Two of us flew, the other two drove, with all our gear. That solved the instrument transportation problem. We stayed in a condo and cooked most of our meals, which cut down on the expense.

We knew Park City would have snow – it is a ski resort -- but we didn’t count on two feet of it falling all in one day. Our first day. Enough snow to make us flatlanders a little jittery. Other people with worthy vehicles were sliding off the road. But we managed.

BlizzardPark City is an adorable little Western town, spiffed up for the ski set. During the Sundance Festival it is jammed with people and cars and slush. Yes, we spotted a number of famous faces, which was fun. Our showcases took place on the stage at the Spur Bar & Grill, a nice honky tonk (oxymoron?) right on Main Street. Loading in was crazy, and you can tell from one of our pictures that one night we had to cool our heels in a very chilly alley.

The Spur was warm and fun and lively, and we played great shows there, three nights running. The audience wasn’t obviously comprised of movie bigwigs, but who knows? These types of showcases are often a little like sowing seeds. If the weather is right, the soil good, the planets aligned, something might grow.

PCTV5The highlight of the trip had to be our television appearance – a first for Border Radio. We were invited to appear on “Mountain Views” on Park City TV, a small but energetic TV station that was operating full throttle for the Festival. We were there for the entire hour-long show, playing periodically and being interviewed by the host, Terry Burden and his young assistant, Charles. We were treated so well, and they were all incredibly nice. On “our” show the director of the upcoming documentary “No Room for Rock Stars: The Van’s Warped Tour,” Perris Patton, was interviewed, as was a big deal in the DJ world (part of the Slamdance Festival). That was just perfect, in my opinion, since it covered the crazy range of music. Another highlight was hearing from a couple of people at our showcase that they came after seeing us on TV!

Border_RadioThe spirit of the Sundance Festival is to get attention for low budget, non-studio films, which would make it a natural pairing with independent musicians. But it also appears to be fairly commercial, with a big presence from Acura and Stella Artois (okay, I did pick up some Stella swag). And there were rappers at the Bing Café (yes, Bing as in the newest search engine, not Crosby).

Showcasing is always a tough decision for a band since the rewards are not often immediately apparent. There is an expense involved in just getting there, and promotion required to really get the full benefit. We select this type of showcasing carefully because of these things. We try to make sure the gig will fun and interesting no matter what happens.

All in all we are glad we took advantage of the opportunity. We did get our music to a couple of people who were interested, and selections of our songs are on compilation CDs that AFM will continue to distribute. Again, they are seeds, floating along on the wind, eager to touch some rich pay dirt.

Kelly McCune is a singer-songwriter and the boss lady of Border Radio, an Altadena-based country folk and dustbowl swing band.