A Travellerspoint blog

Day 1 & 2 of South by South West in Austin, Texas.

Unlike any festival we've ever attended. No kids, no teens, no fluorescent shirts, no fucking wrist bands to get a drink and it ain't ten+ bucks to get one either.

semi-overcast 28 °C

OK so I'm writing this after having just visited the New Zealand music feature tent at South by South West. AKA quaffing a few a free glasses of unbelievably good Kiwi Sav Blanc and listening to some established and up and coming acts from NZ. A lack of regular computer access has us updating at random intervals right now. It's day three of SXSW in Austin, Texas, but I'm here to update "y'all" on day's 1 & 2.

Day 1 we caught the bus into Austin from our accommodation, which is a converted garage in south Austin. Our Cuban-American host is very cool and friendly, our room is clean and contains all we need. 30 min ride into the city to register and collect our festival badges from the Austin Convention Centre. The badges grant us entry into all events, promos, gigs, BBQs etc at SXSW for the 7 days of the music component of the festival. We are utterly impressed with this place. Sizeable city, Texas capitol afterall. City centre is buzzing, thousands of people everywhere and the organisation is very professional, the lay out - across Austin's city centre - is really user friendly and easily walkable, which is great when you're consuming lots of free liquor and American food!

First night we orientated as much as possible. It's crazy, literally over 2000 bands/acts here and over 150 pubs/clubs hosting them. Making up your mind were to go and what to see is the hardest part. We went a saw Capital Cities from LA. They were great, real ecclesiastical mix of styles - guitars, percussion, decks, 2 lyricists, and a trumpet. Upbeat stuff, great way to kick off. We then went a saw Future of the Left from Northern Eire in the British Music Embassy. They're heavy. Great crowd in there and plenty of drink.

After this we were shattered, it was nearly midnight and we'd only been in the country 30odd hours. We got the bus back to our pad.

Day 2 of SXSW

Amazing day. We saw about 12 bands across around 8 venues (pubs/bars), had a couple free feeds and lots of free and paid for drinks, and walked about 15km by the end of the whole 15 hour affair. To support our fellow country-men we went to the Sounds Australia feature, where 5 acts played 2 songs each. Chet Faker from Melbourne and the John Steel Singers from Brisbane were the highlights. There's 45 Australian bands/acts here at SXSW 2012, and that's a rather small contingent. This gives you an idea of the size of this event. MASSIVE. We went to the Sounds of Canada event, which promoted Canadian music, food and culture. We had free food and drink there and listened to some coll Canadian sounds. After this we attended the closing event of the Interactive component of SXSW, which sees a whole bunch of developers, tech heads, web designers etc congregate to display and promote their stuff. We got more free stuff, badges, stickers, shirts, promo material etc. Met some cool people. We're both flat out switching a computer on so attending this type of thing was funny, if a little overwhelming.

Back to the music. We went a saw Alabama Shakes from Athens, Georgia. Very popular with the Americans, probably not so much our scene, but great to see. After this we went to a huge "welcome dinner" at the Hilton Hotel ballroom. Ate heaps of food, hung out with people from Colombia, New York and El Salvador among others. Will be meeting up with our Latin American friends later in the festival to see their bands. After dinner we went and saw Willy Mason from Martha's Vineyard, Pets with Pets from Australia (who we thought were shit), Band of Skulls from Southampton UK, some stuff in between and finally Crystal Fighters from UK. I loved them, absolutely ripped it up. We missed out on Miike Snow from Sweden and Kasabian from Leicester, but plan to catch them later in the fest.

Trapsing the streets to the bus stop we saw all sorts of crazy stuff going on at 2am. Tens of thousands of people everywhere, lots of diversity, lots of nutters. We caught a long bus home with a bunch of randoms and went to bed around 4am, after a half bag of chips, a laugh and a look at our photos. See you on Day 3 of SXSW.

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 16:55 Archived in USA Tagged music austin sxsw

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