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A reflection on time spent and lessons learned

The Wrap-Up (35+ Videos)

No matter how many things you read or hear about South by Southwest, you can't truly understand what it's like until you've experienced it firsthand. I write this about eighteen hours after returning to New York from Austin; I've spent the past six hours sifting through film footage from this year's music/booze fest (held March 15-18) and my brain is weary and my memory is blurry. But I did come away with some observations:

  • Not many
    Asian males attend the festival. I believe that when you're an outsider you
    either get hated or loved. SXSW is full of independent thinkers, so you�d think
    I'd be put on some type of pedestal. No dice on that.
  • The music
    hierarchy was in full-effect. It begins at registration. No sooner had I picked
    up my press wristband than I saw
    people with press badges, which was
    immediately depressing -- not only because they could get into more things, but
    also because they were deemed worthy of more access than I was. That theme was
    prevalent all week, and it manifest itself when you would talk to people about
    what you do and who you work for or when you were trying to get in to certain
    events (obviously, lines didn�t exist for some people, depending on who they knew
    or who they were).
  • With all
    the running around and the endless alcohol flowing, it's easy to forget to eat.
    I stayed up the whole night before I left because I didn�t want to miss my 6:30
    a.m. flight, and after I touched down in Austin and checked into my hotel, I
    spent the rest of the day listening to music and drinking booze -- and not
    eating. I was obliterated by nightfall.
  • No one
    warned me about this: Austin�s 6th Street becomes a gigantic nightmare of a
    frat-party at night. Sometimes it was amusing, but on Saturday night -- Saint
    Patrick's Day -- it was mostly scary.
  • The
    festival is like Groundhog Day in
    that every day is the same: Wake up after getting barely any sleep. Go to a
    show and drink. Go to another show and drink. Go to more shows that day than
    you normally go to all year, and drink at each one. Day turns to night. Go to
    shows and drink. Find out where the after-parties are. Learn that the
    after-party has been moved or shut down. Go to the hotel and sleep. Repeat.
  • There's
    not enough dancing. That�s probably because the crowds are filled with industry
    people; they won�t dance, but they�ll drink like fishes. My best chance to try
    out my new moves was to watch the bands that reliably got the crowd going: the
    Faint, the Gossip, the Rapture. The only problem was negotiating the massive
    lines to see them.
  • The best
    place to conduct meetings: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on the Sunday
    after the festival. I got there a bit early, but regardless I ran into artists
    (Ghostface, Marissa Nadler), label people (Friendly Fire, K, Kill Rock Stars,
    Touch & Go), publicists (Cornerstone), people from other music publications
    (DIW, Stereogum, XXL) and our ad agency (Indieclick).
  • SXSW is
    not a vacation (four days of watching shows twelve hours a day is not relaxing)
    and it is not reality. (I hardly remembered that the NCAA basketball tournament
    began. I hardly remembered basketball.)
  • Given the enormity of the festival and the likelihood it will only get bigger, I'm already going to get planning on SXSW2008 by booking a hotel.

    ***

 

[more:]Festival Web site:
http://2007.sxsw.com/



Pics and
Videos

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amy-millan-2.jpg
Amy
Millan

Emo's
(Pics, Video)
antibalas.jpg
Antibalas


Habana Calle / NY2LON Party by Brooklyn Vegan
(Pics, Video)
apostle-of-hustle.jpg
Apostle
of Hustle


Mohawk
(Pics, Video)
a-trak-kid-sister.jpg
A-Trak,
Kid Sister

Beauty Bar
(Pics)
boggs.jpg
The Boggs


Fader Fort
(Pics, Video)
bondo-de-role.jpg
Bonde
do Role

Red's Scoot Inn
(Pics, Video)
datarock.jpg
Datarock


Fader Fort
(Pics, Video)
david-vandervelde.jpg
David
Vandervelde

Saengerrunde Hall / Diesel U-Music
Party (Pics, Video)
devin-the-dude.jpg
Devin
the Dude

Club Visions
(Pics, Video)
flosstradamus.jpg
Flosstradamus


Red's Scoot Inn (Pics, Video)
foreign-islands.jpg
Foreign Islands

Beauty Bar
(Video)
fratellis.jpg
The Fratellis

Fader Fort
(Pics, Video)
hot-club-de-paris.jpg
Hot Club De Paris

Fader Fort
(Pics, Video)
illinois.jpg
Illinois

Saengerrunde Hall/Diesel U-Music Party
(Pics, Video)
kenna.jpg
Kenna

Fader Fort
(Pics, Video)



marnie-stern.jpg
Marnie Stern

Emo's Lounge
(Pics, Video)
matt-and-kim-2.jpg
Matt & Kim

Beauty Bar
(Video)
matt-and-kim.jpg
Matt & Kim

Saengerrunde Hall/Diesel U-Music Party
(Pics, Video)
no-age.jpg
No Age

Ms. Bea's
(Pics, Video)
old-time-relijun.jpg
Old Time Relijun

Emo's Lounge
(Pics, Video)
oxford-collapse.jpg
Oxford Collapse

Emo's Lounge
(Pics, Video)
pipettes.jpg
The Pipettes

La Zona Rosa
(Pics, Video)
plastic-little.jpg
Plastic Little

Beauty Bar
(Pics, Video)
rapture.jpg
The Rapture

La Zona Rosa
(Pics, Video)
redman.jpg
Redman

Fader Fort
(Pics, Videos)
rub.jpg
The Rub

Fader Fort
(Pics, Video)
slim-moon.jpg
Slim Moon & What Army

Ms. Bea's / Todd P Showcase
(Pics, Video)
spank-rock-amanda-blank.jpg
Spank Rock & Amanda Blank

Red's Scoot Inn
(Pics, Video)
spoon.jpg
Spoon

Stubb's
(Pics, Video)
stooges.jpg
The Stooges

Stubb's
(Pics, Video)
thunderbirds-are-now.jpg
Thunderbirds Are Now!

Mohawk
(Pics, Video)
tiny-masters-of-today.jpg
Tiny Masters of Today

Ms. Bea's
(Pics, Video)
tokyo-police-club.jpg
Tokyo Police Club

Saengerrunde Hall/Diesel U-Music Party
(Pics, Video)
winterkids.jpg
Winterkids

(Pics)
yacht.jpg
Yacht 

Ms. Bea's / Todd P Showcase
(Pics, Video)
zach.jpg
Zach Galifianakis

Cedar St.
(Video)

Week in Preview - [March 20, 2007] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new. Amy Winehouse Show Review (Bowery Ballroom, New York City)
Tags
SXSW2007

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