After eleven years as one of the biggest unofficial events at South by Southwest, the Fader Fort is going legit. This year's Fort will be an official SXSW showcase for the first time, and will be named The Fader Fort Presented by Converse to welcome its new three-year sponsor. The Fort arrives March 14 and will run through March 17, with Santigold, Zola Jesus and hip-hop collective Black Hippy leading the list of confirmed artists (more to be announced close to the festival.)
As previously reported by Billboard, the Fader Fort found itself without a sponsor late in the game when Fiat opted not to renew its sponsorship in late January. But the last-minute change ended up being a big opportunity for the Fader, which hadn't been recognized as an "official" showcase largely because of its conflicting sponsors (Fiat, for example, conflicted with SXSW's exclusive automotive partner Chevrolet.) It was also a logical upgrade opportunity for Converse, a longtime sponsor of the Fader Fort; the music marketing agency Cornerstone is also run by Fader co-founder Jon Cohen and Rob Stone.
"Converse is always the brand we wanted to partner with here, and it made our ability to negotiate with South by Southwest that much easier," says Fader president Andy Cohn.
Darin Klein, SXSW's director of special projects, added in a statement, "The Fader has always created a cool environment where our attendees can see great artists. We're thrilled to be partnering with them on the Fort at SXSW 2012."
In addition to Converse, other sponsors on-board this year include Nokia (which will host a Nokia VIP Lounge for four nights); Bushmills whiskey; vitaminwater and smartwater; Roberta's Pizza from Bushwick, Brooklyn; Stumptown Coffee Roasters; Beats by Dre; second-year radio partner SiriusXM; and airline partner Southwest Airlines (another first-time sponsor of the Fort). Additionally, music network Fuse will live-stream the Fort from 1 to 9 p.m. each day at www.fuse.tv/thefaderfort, with additional highlights and interviews airing on Fuse TV.
SXSW Music 2012 is shaping up to be an increasingly popular destination for major marketers, with official sponsors Pepsi, Chevrolet, MillerCoors, Dell and IFC all extending their largely SXSW Interactive activations to include deeper elements of Music this year.