Austin, Texas and a Newbie’s Account of SXSW

Music, Texas, Travel, USA
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Texas State Capitol in Downtown Austin. Built in 1885.

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The Mohawk, a popular venue in Austin, draws its inspiration from the Native American culture of the Northeast — not the hairdo.

Austin is a city brimming with tech investment, yuppie luxuries, hipster havens, Southern charm, healthy eats, and cultural attractions — but it’s probably most famous for its mighty SXSW Music Conference. My first time at the annual music-industry extravaganza involved quite a mix of emotions: excitement, anticipation, confusion, anxiety. With so much going on, the sense of wonderment and worry comes from that nagging feeling that you’re missing out on something great just around the corner. I was lucky enough to go with a seasoned veteran, aka Handstand Steph, who helped direct me to venues and parties filled with great new bands. This may not be as easy a task as you’d think. See, SXSW has quickly grown into a corporate free-for-all, where a stage resembling a giant Doritos bag is the main attraction, and where A-list celebrities woo even the snobbiest of music fans and insiders. Do Justin Timberlake and Prince really need to be there? More importantly, does every media outlet need to report on it? What happened to SXSW being purely an outlet for unsigned bands and music discovery?

Handstand Steph poses with Britt Daniel of Spoon and the Divine Fits.

Handstand Steph poses with Britt Daniel (of Spoon and the Divine Fits) amid the madness near Sixth Street.

Eggs Benedict

The best organic Eggs Benedict off West Sixth Street in Austin.

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