In 2006, I picked up an issue of SPIN magazine and stumbled across a curious acronym: SXSW. This annual tech, film, and music conference - the largest of its kind - brings tens of thousands of business people, inventors, artists, and field experts to Austin, Texas each March. It's an industry hotbed, a cultural crossroads, a gathering place for new ideas and art.... and ever since my unsuspecting 13-year old self leafed through the pages of that magazine, item numero uno on my bucket list.
10 years later, I found myself face to face with my childhood dream: a Platinum Badge slung around my neck, and a bright yellow photography pass (which I still haven't had the heart to remove!) looped around my camera.
It's been one month since I hopped on a plane enroute to Austin, Texas. By now, I've had more than enough time to recover from the 10-day marathon that is SXSW, reflect on the adventure, and sort through my 200GBs of photo documentation.
So without any further delay, I present to you a photo journal of SXSW 2016 - Day One
My first assignment of SXSW Interactive was the Accelerator Start-Up pitch competition.
In this initial round of pitches, competitors delivered two minute pitches, followed by a brief Q&A with the judges. Given their short amount of time, financial and operational details were often left out in favor of storytelling. Business school ingrained upon me the power of a well crafted elevator pitch, and seeing the passion each competitor had toward their projects was inspiring.
Later that night, my fresh-faced and not yet over-exhausted self ventured out to experience Austin's famed nightlife. While walking toward 6th Street, the city's entertainment hub, I stumbled across a gorgeous, illuminated building - the Texas State Capitol.
19-year old Scottish singer, KLOE, opened up NYLON + Clinique's SXStyle party at Cheer Up Charlies. She was the first (of many!) musicians I saw live over the course of the festival.
Deloitte's ARC After Dark Party featured a technological playground: swings that lit up, pulsating light fixtures, and the ARC (Audience Reactive Composition), which allowed users to interact with the music. The evening's soundtrack was provided by RAC (which coincidentally... or not!... is an anagram for ARC).
My final event of SXSW Day One - the premiere of Comedy Central duo, Key and Peele's, new film Keanu at The Paramount Theatre. The film, which is scheduled to be released on April 29th, was shown in a work-in-progress screening, which as the duo politely reminded the crowd "If you like it, great that's the finished product. If not, f*** you it's not done yet." I spotted Pitch Perfect star, and all around cool individual, Anna Kendrick in the audience, and fought off the urge to sing Cups with her.
And so, I finally crawled into my hostel bunkbed at 4AM that morning. Day One had been a jam packed success... and the adventure had only just begun.
Want to read about the rest of the adventure?