This year I was fortunate enough to accompany a friend of mine on his annual pilgrimage to SXSW. For those unaware, SXSW is a nine-day event that brings in film, music, and interactive media industries to Austin, Texas every March. This year, the music festival showcased 2,000 music artists at over 80 stages throughout the city. In the past SXSW was a platform for labels and emerging buzz bands to showcase themselves to the media, but nowadays it’s more of a “who-can-throw-the-sickest-party” free-for-all. What first started as a modest industry-only based festival has since evolved into an all-out spring break (woooo) for music execs and everyday Joes alike. This in turn transforms Austin into a chaotic theme park where one has to wait in line for over an hour to even catch a high profile showcase. This isn’t always a bad thing though; I mean it’s not everyday that you can catch a surprise performance by Jay-Z or Kanye in a relatively intimate - but packed- venue. And when was the last time you saw Fiona Apple perform alongside The Dream and Grimes at a church?
Amidst all the free parties and beer floating around, I was able to catch a number of amazing acts in my alcohol-induced haze. Some noteworthy performances included, but were not limited to, Purity Ring, SBTRKT, Trash Talk, Tennis, Action Bronson, Wavves, Doomtree, and an eclectic live performance by The Wizards (of Workaholics moniker). But what really makes SXSW such a unique and great festival is the freedom attendees have to just ‘play it by ear’. You are not obligated to see A-Trak at the Fool’s Gold Day Party, because you can just catch him with AraabMuzik and Diplo at the Turntable showcase later in the evening. The only other festival that really comes close would be CMJ in New York. But as opposed to having to journey from LES to Brooklyn to see another show, all you need to do is walk next-door -literally.
As amazing as it was, SXSW wasn’t short of its share of setbacks. For instance, a person can only live off tacos and vodka for so long. Then there’s the daily 3AM taxicab hustle. And really A$AP?.. REALLY?? But in the end good vibes offset bad ones, performances outweigh lengthy lines, and did I mention free booze and music?
Till next year Austin, I’m dead.
01 - AIRPORT 02 - SELF, HOTEL 03 - BLOUSE SHANGRILAS 04 - NATE PUMA 05 - CRO MAGS 06 - PIZZA EVERYDAY 07 - BACKSTAGE PITCHFORK 08 - BLEACHED 09 - SELF, REST 10 - ATRAK 11 - SELF, PORT 12 - BLOUSE 13 - KORALLREVEN 14 - DUDES I MET 15 - COOL KIDS 16 - WORKAHOLICS PARTY 17 - TRASH TALK 18 - RANDOM DUDE 19 - RANDOM FRIEND FROM NY 20 - MCDISCO 21 - TRASHER X CONVERSE PARTY 22 - DONEZO 23 - RAD CHICK 24 - DEAD 25 - HE DEAD TOO 26 - WIDOWSPEAK 27 - PUSSY 28 - SO WEAK 29 - SELF 30 - WAVY 31 - BYEBYE