South By Southwest: WTF am I doing?!

6 Mar

So, for my 30th birthday, my super nice husband said “Surprise – we’re going to Austin!”.  He had planned the trip for 2 weeks later, which would have put us in the last week of February. I was obviously excited, as we’d always heard that Austin was cool, but I was actually quite bummed that the trip he was planning didn’t include either of the two major music events in Austin (one being Austin City Limits, the other South by Southwest, or for short “SXSW”. Apparently really cool people call it “South By”, but I realize I’m not there yet and most likely never will be). Anyhow, his work schedule got all fucked up, as it tends to do when you work for a pile of dicks, and we had to reschedule. I saw this as my opportunity to mention that what I REALLY wanted to do for my birthday was sxsw! BAM!

sxsw-01

photo credit

Sxsw, which in case you don’t know, is huge and has hundreds of free concerts scattered up and down 6th st., in conjunction with a conference for music industry professionals. The amount I have learned about this event in the past few weeks is incredible, because it’s COMPLICATED AS FUCK! I knew that it wasn’t like other music festivals (get a ticket, find a spot).  Apparently there are official and unofficial showcases – and there are badges, wristbands and people (like me) with nothing.  For some shows you need a badge, many the people with badges are given priority and some don’t rely on badges at all. A lot of showcases require you to RSVP – an absolutely all consuming task where I search for events online through a million different channels then end up on a million different sites trying to sign up for parties that I don’t even really know if I want to go to or if I’ll be able to get into.  It’s nuts.  I’ve made a ridiculously intricate spreadsheet of events that even I can’t understand.

I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts about people’s sxsw experiences (people are seeing 150 bands in 5 days!) and I am trying to set some small goals – maybe pick a short list of bands I’d like to see and a few Austin sights and not be disappointed in how it goes down. My biggest hope is that my husband likes it. He hates crowds, so this is a big question mark. I am actually very afraid I will be dragging him from place to place and forcing him to wait in long lines and pack into venues and he will be miserable. I hope I’m wrong on this one!

Since I have never been there before, I can’t really tell you how it all will go down, but I will tell you what I anticipate, my hopes and dreams and what bands I would really like to see, and then I’ll let  ya know how my dreams compare with reality after next week!

  • Eat at food trucks. I hear they have incredible food trucks in Austin and I don’t care if I don’t sit down for one nice meal (besides that Shady Grove Trailer Court, of course. My friends got me a gift certificate there and it looks incred. Can’t wait to gain 8 elbees!).
  • Make an attempt to see Cold War Kids (Brad’s favorite, so this is our #1 goal), Dawes, Foxygen, Cheers Elephant, Houndmouth David Wax Museum and Gringo Star. There are a few bigger bands I will try to see but won’t be surprised if I can’t, due to my non-badged state (Flaming Lips, Vampire Weekend, Frightened Rabbit, among others). I’m really bummed J. Roddy Walston won’t be there despite previously released information. Dick move, J. I have about 80 more on my list but, it’s too overwhelming to think about.
  • Go see my old reliable Toy Soldiers and Ali Wadsworth. I know they are local and I’ve seen ’em a million times, but I think it will be awesome to see ’em tearin it up at SXSW. Brad thinks that’s kinda dumb and that we should be seeing bands that we won’t be able to see another time. I get it. But I can’t miss ’em.
  • Hike at Town Lake. Apparently a beautiful spot for nature and enjoying warm weather.
  • Wear summer clothes, drink heavily and be happy that I’m there.

If you have any tips, suggestions, band recommendations or are going to be there, I’d LOVE to hear from you! I have no fuckin clue what I’m doing and would love to hang out with people – send me a message!

Up, up and away….

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