My SXSW Music started off epicly with an incredible panel on "Transparency in Music" and the state of the industry featuring Panos Panay (Founder of Sonicbids and Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship), Alex Ebert (lead singer of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes), Hank Shocklee (notable producer and owner of Shocklee Entertainment), and moderated by Maura Corbett (CEO & Founder of Glen Echo Group). Though the conversation pivoted often and covered a wide area of discussion, it was the perfect introduction to the week and hands down my favourite panel of the entire festival.
Next, I spent some time by the water at the Waller Creek Boathouse, which housed The Nordic Lighthouse Event. I arrived in time to see one of my favourite bands, Finland's Satellite Stories, play their first gig of SXSW.
Satellite Stories played their North American venue at Brooklyn's Black Bear Bar and Brooklyn Bowl during CMJ last October. They have an energetic live set and sparkling tunes, and I enjoyed dancing along to their live show once again. Another photographer, Antti Laitila, captured the image below of me grooving to the music. Look at that smile :)
The official SXSW Music kick-off was held at Maggie Mae's, during which Kristin Kontrol (the solo project of Dum Dum Girls frontwoman, Dee Dee) and CHVRCHES performed DJ sets.
Tuesday night was my only free evening for the SXSW Music festival, as every other evening I would be working shifts from 7pm-2am. I took advantage of my freedom by roaming the streets in search of some unexpected, spontaneous adventure... instead I stumbled upon Asian culture.
Cars are barred from driving down 6th street during SXSW. During the first few nights of Interactive/Film, it was nice walking through the pedestrian street, and admiring the street performers, lights strung overhead, and random blowup Chinese lucky cats. Later in the week, the foot traffic was utter insanity - with thousands of badged, and un-badged people scurrying through the street.
I made a brief stop at Japan House, just out of curiousity. I have no idea who this performer is, nor what she was saying, but she had a bubbly stage presence and seemed to be enjoying herself, despite the language barrier.
At the end of the night, I decided to head to The Hype Machine's Hype Hotel stage to check out Jack Garratt (who was a must see on my list after his Toronto show sadly sold out), and Empress Of (who's performance at CMJ 2015 I missed). Remember what I said about lines in my previous posts? In 2015, there were 30,308 SXSW Music badgeholders/wristband wearers. Factor in the thousands of people, unaffiliated with the festival, who RSVP'd to the event, and the fact that Hype Hotel is known as one of the festival's premiere stages, and you have a loooooooong line up. And so, after 2.5 hours of standing in line (of which I swear I fell asleep standing up for at least half an hour), I cut my losses, and left.
It was my only free night of SXSW Music, so while I was sad to have wasted so much time standing in line, it was time to call it an early night - after all I had my alarm set for 5AM the next morning to execute my master plan!
Want to read about the rest of the adventure?