SXSW 2012: A unique experience

SXSW 2012: A unique experience

People from all over the world traveled millions, billions and even trillions of miles, if possible, to visit the beaches of South Padre, while others opted to enjoy the craziness of our personal Bourbon Street.
And even at that, most people literally had to park a tedious 1.8 miles away, if not more, walk over hills and cross bridges of water to join the masses on 6th St. in Austin to attend this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW).
The event was started as a way for bands to get their name out in one giant festival, showcasing their talents in various venues throughout 6th street for free.
Some people spend thousands of dollars on badges and wristbands to see some of the greatest acts around from artists such as Jack White, Jay-Z, Eminem, Bruce Springsteen, Norah Jones and even Mumford and Sons.
We didn’t.
What’s the best part about South by?
Some artists still maintain their artistic roots, aiming to project their music into the ears of anyone who will listen—which works out perfectly for music enthusiasts.
Some bands, although they may not be huge, are definitely on the radar and played free shows for anyone with an I.D. to prove they were older than 21, such as Snowden.
The band played outside, on a tiny stage in the back of a bar, with a crowd of about 50 people. There were no railings to keep people from standing a foot away from the musicians in front of them.
To top it off, Jordan Jeffares, the lead singer, stepped off stage after the show and welcomed anyone who approached him.
He talked to people about beer, his next album, their aspirations for the music industry and even encounters he had with them at the previous South by.
An experience that would only happen at such an intimate, more personal and free showcase where music is what connects the people to the performers.
It’s not only musicians making an attempt to advertise their products, many business take full opportunity of the situation.
Major labels and brands host huge events where they bring in bands to perform, or even stand up comedians and film debuts, while handing out free stuff—like Dos Equis, Camel cigarettes, CDs or water bottles.
Some companies even teamed up together to provide attendees with the “ultimate” experience, such as Nike and Vevo who hosted a party at an abandoned Spaghetti Warehouse.
Outside the venue they placed a giant screen that showed everyone inside dancing and drinking for free, enjoying their experience.
Inside was a giant room covered in LED lights that changed from red to green when all the drunk, sweaty party animals began dancing to the DJing of Diplo and Ducksauce’s heavy electronic, bassy beats that seemingly made your organs thump.
Despite what people might think, SXSW has more to offer than Matthew McConaughey running barefoot through the hills. It has everything from free shows, to celebrities blending in with crowds on the street or in a venue to engage in their collective love for music and entertainment.
The weeklong event is an exhausting one—enduring the weather, even when it’s raining or scorching hot while waiting in line, dancing at every corner and in every bar and fighting your way through crowds taking a significant beating on the way definitely takes it’s toll on anyone who participates in the festival.
But that’s a toll no one else can share.

Written by Jonathan Adams and Leslie Villeda

Jonathan Adams
Former Editor-in-Chief