My first SXSW experience has been and gone, but the after effects are still being felt. I am worn out! I had it on good authority that it it was going to be an amazing experience, but nothing could have prepared me for quite how amazing it was. If I wrote about everything I did, you would still be reading by this time next year, so here are some of the highlights…
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My journey to Austin began at 4 am when I took the CTA to Midway Airport and barely made it to the plane in time. After two stops and a plane change, I emerged, bleary-eyed, into the radiant Texas sun. I dropped my stuff off at my accommodation and made my way into central Austin.
First up was the Berlin Music Commission’s networking session where I spoke to reps from NARIP and YouTube and met a singer/songwriter from Nashville called Charlie Oxford who knows Taylor Swift’s parents. There was free German beer, too.
I then hotfooted it over to the Epitonic day party to meet up with Columbia AEMM professor Justin Sinkovich. I saw the awesome Chicago band Twin Peaks and Austin band Ume. Next up was Rachel Ray’s house party, which became my home base for the week because they had free food and drinks all day made according to Rachel’s own recipes.[flickr id=”8574101233″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
Thursday began with the A2IM breakfast. I met a a lot of industry people and made a some great connections. That afternoon, I checked out a great indie-folk band called Swear and Shake from Brooklyn. I also checked out K.I.D.S., a band featuring the bassist from White Lies. After a whole load of walking around to attend meetings I met up with some friends and saw the amazing dance-punks !!! (commonly pronounced as “chk chk chk”) play on Rainey Street. That reminds me, if you ever get the chance to go to SXSW, you have to check out Rainey Street. It is a street of old bungalows that have been converted into bars and has a way more relaxed vibe compared to the manic 6th Street area.
Friday was more meetings and a few day parties. I did manage to catch the Flaming Lips featuring Jim Jones.
Saturday was another big day. It began with a trip to Mohawk to hear the savage noise-punk of Canadian band Metz. I then got into the Brooklyn Vegan party to see MS MR, Palma Violets, and Autre Ne Veut. After taking a stroll to the east side to check out a Canadian showcase, I headed back to Rainey Street to meet up with my friends in the Chicago band Brighton MA perform at Rachel Ray’s party. A few hours and a lot of dancing later, I was in bed, happy, exhausted, and with the music still ringing in my ears.[flickr id=”8575193100″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
So there you have it. That, in around 400 words, was a whistle stop tour of my SXSW experience. I should also mention the celeb sightings: Richie Hawtin aka Plastikman, Nick Oliveri from Queens of the Stone Age, Mike Dirnt from Green Day, and Daryl Hannah riding her bike. All in all, it was an amazingly productive experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in music, film, or tech. The networking opportunities are priceless and SXSW gives you an amazing bird’s eye view of the music industry. Roll on next year!