Last night I visited downtown Austin and all was still and quiet. By the end of this week at the same location, the streets will be flooded musicians, promoters, and festival-goers from all over the country to attend South by Southwest. The roads will be blocked, the lines for every restaurant in town will go on forever, and each day will be more tiring than the last. Despite the chaos, excitement has kept me from sleeping and eating like a normal human. South by Southwest is the main reason I moved to Austin and now I get to experience the festival for myself.
This year my goals and expectations are simple and flexible. I am not over 21 and don’t have a badge or music pass to gain access into official shows. I’ll go wherever my ear takes me (as long as it is free and open to all ages) and hope to discover new music. While seeing Kanye, Drake, or Fall Out Boy would be amazing, I’m not bothering to attend shows with well-established artists. SXSW is about falling in love with a band you accidentally stumbled upon while trying to find a bathroom. You can have a game plan but be sure to include a plan B, C, and D because no one can expect where the night will go. The excitement is in the mystery.
The only artist I truly care about seeing is The Vaccines. They’re playing six shows and I have to catch at least one of them. Other bands I hope to see are Catfish and the Bottlemen, Diarrhea Planet, Misterwives, and MSMR. ODESZA, Milky Chance, Clean Bandit, Robert Delong and Jukebox The Ghost seem to be showing up on every flyer I look at. I have not listened to their music of but hope to see their shows next week. Festivals and showcases on my radar are Culture Collide, APW, Spotify House, and a mansion party I’ve been invited to do media coverage on.
These large events are exciting, but I’ll be spending time at local house shows as well. I have friends in bands like Tapes, Blessin’ Summer Salt with their own showcases with other local Austin bands that will play in smaller settings. SXSW originally started as a festival for getting to know local artists. Bands may be flocking from all over the country, but we have plenty of talent here already.
Not much will be happening in the realm of music this weekend. I’ll be attending my friend’s house show, checking out the gaming expos, and adjust to the new excitement in the city.
This weekend is the calm before the music storm that hits next week.
Follow Belicia's SXSW Journey here on F&F
About Belicia Luevano: She studies Journalism at the University of Texas in Austin, the live music capital of the world (the only reason she moved here). She is currently involved in two music TV stations, Local Live and Austin Underground, writes for ORANGE magazine, and with another music organization, Headliners, brings artists and comedians to her campus.