One word to summarize SXSW 2013? Exhausting. It was a year of long lines and big crowds. I know Interactive grew by 25% from last year. Who knows how many more people came for the music? I know it was a lot.
Last year I did Interactive and then bought a music wristband, and I felt like I was going to die by the end. So this year I did the sensible thing and only got a wristband. And felt like I was going to die by the end. It is a week of constant standing, moving, drinking. And more drinking. With some greasy pizza and tacos thrown in on top of the rum and the four hours of sleep, just to make everything a little more painful. The morning parties certainly helped. Free tacos and mimosas along with some pretty awesome bands playing in the back yard is not a bad way to start the day.
The best thing about SXSW is that there are so many freaking bands, from the well known like Depeche Mode and Prince to the ones few have heard of like TEEN and Optimo, so if you don’t want to stand in lines, you don’t have to. We mixed it up a lot, standing one night for over an hour in a line to see Passion Pit (totally worth it!) and another night hopping from Rainey St. to the east-side and back again, hunting out the little guys.
Some of my favorites from the festival: Passion Pit, !!! (that’s chk-chk-chk to the uninitiated), TEEN and Austra. Memorable moments? One of the best was when Nic Offer, lead singer of !!! got down into the crowd in his boxers and danced with me. Another was seeing Austra at Elysium (a match made in heaven) with our friend who donned a robot helmet.
Overall we saw 42 bands (that I remember – there were plenty of nights when I couldn’t say exactly what happened) and ate about as many tacos. The physical pain and mental exhaustion are fresh right now, but I’m sure when it comes time to buy wristbands next year, I’ll be hovering at my computer like a drug addict, waiting to do it all over again.