Here are a few things this year's festival taught us, and no, we didn't see Miley Cyrus at the Fader Fort so stop asking.
Ahh, SXSW, the universal classroom of life, the festival where you learn way more than you needed to about yourself and your fellow humankind. Here are a few things this year's festival taught us, and no, we didn't see Miley Cyrus at the Fader Fort so stop asking.
Bum rushing the door is the official sport of SXSW
Want to see a show but don't have a wristband? No wristband, no problem, because once you've gathered a large enough crowd to semi-aggressively overpower the venue security, you can bum rush the door like a pack of stampeding buffalo fleeing from indian hunters in Dances With Wolves. It's so beautiful, like a giant swarming tide of black beanies attached to underage heads.
Once you and your crew are inside, don't even worry because there are too many of you to count and they've given up on life and all hope and are currenetly fingering the cyanide pills they brought with them in their pockets. Enjoy the show!
If you say you're someone's manager, you're someone's manager
What, you think the door people have memorized the faces of the thousands of artist and tour managers and they know who is and who isn't with an act? Ha, ha. Hilarious. They haven't. Not at all.
SXSW is too huge and too fast-paced for anyone working the door to know who anyone on an artist's team is That means that with the right amount of swagger and maniacal self confidence, all you need to get into a show armed with a VIP wristband for free is to say you're someone's manager and you're checking them in while they unload their gear. Consummate professionals pick an artist that's scheduled to play in about an hour, because if there's anything the door peons do know, it's who's on the bill and their set times.
Satin baseball jacket customization is more important than air and water
SXSW was just a giant customized jacket catwalk. Every single person with arms and necks had a customized satin baseball jacket with some sort of illuminati pyramid, cobra, dagger stabbing a dolphin or titties on it, and each had their posse name sewn on in either Cramps front or Good Charlotte circa 2003 typography.
Presumably, these jackets were supposed to let everyone know whose crew people ran with, but really they just showcased how much #flair you can fit on an item of clothing.
It's easier to talk to people at SXSW than anywhere else on earth … because they're all on drugs
Normal social rules do not apply at SXSW. Everyone you see is hoping to god that you're somebody in a band or who works for a label, so the friendliness level at SXSW is fierce and unprecedented. Whereas in the arid plains of Colorado you might think twice before walking up to a group of strangers and announcing your name and who you work for, doing the same in Austin is easier than breathing. For whatever reason, your otherwise rude intrusion welcomed with open arms and before you know it, you just got yourself seven new Instagram followers and you're feeling invincible.
Why else do these strangers want to talk to you? Because they're a 40 year old man who's on hella molly.
SXSW's most MVP guests are post mid-life crisis label and agency princes who have extended their experimental phases far beyond the reaches of their 20's and 30's in an effort to appear connect to youth culture. Their favorite way to demonstrate this is to show up at a party in a suit, but inexplicably wearing a beanie, on mushrooms, and try to contain their hallucinations as they "network with rappers."
Every now and then, the shrooms or the molly will strike a philosophical chord in these curious anti-fathers, and they'll go on 40-minute conversational sprees about how Orwellian society has becoming thanks to video streaming apps. You'll smile and sip your Lone Star andthen totally accept when they offer you the bounty from their niece's Adderall prescription.
Astronomically infamous artists play to rooms of like three and a half people
Most SXSW artists play between four and ten shows during the festival, and at any given time, there are hundreds of shows going on at once. That means that even if you're a big-name artist, you might be booked for a show that's boasting audience numbers in the elevens.
Whether that's because the concert promoters also had to promote 117 other shows at the same time or because the incessant torrential downpour is keeping people from waiting in line is irrelevant; all that matters is that you can see Just Blaze or Riff Raff in a room full of people you know the birthdays of, which is creepy and sad but also so cool because you're the only one spilling PBR into your shoes.
The locals don't care who you are, they hate you … like haaaate you
Unless they have a customized jacket shop downtown where SXSW that's just lucrative during the festival, Austin's locals want to bury you. Understandable, since you did just fill their city with people who are excited to see Tayor Swift at the Taco Bell Beef Hut or whatever their event is called.
You really need a good elevator pitch for your live streaming app/ festival travel agent service/ artisan goat blood shampoo apothecary
At SXSW, everyone wants to know who are you and what you do. And, given the profile of most SXSW attendees, it's likely that the "everyone" you're talking to owns Dim Mak or some sort of creative investment marketing agency collective thing and that they can, without a doubt, change your entire career/life if you can bro down with them or match their molly intake.
That's why you need a good eleven-second pitch about who you are and what you do. If you can't articulate that within an ADD-like time span, we guarantee you someone else will swoop in on the conversation you're having with that person (it'll probably be Diplo asking where the bitches are) and shut down your opportunity to get your organic sex dust business into the limelight. Or, even if you've managed to physically corner them into a space where no other bodies can penetrate the conversation, it's 100% possible they'll just get bored and stop listening.
It's the best place to be homeless of all time. Of all time.
Free shoes at the Vans tent, free Brisk iced tea everywhere, free iPhone cases you can trade for encampment tarps, free food truck samples which usually have life-sustaining protein in them, free t-shirts that say "Get out of my way I have a show," and free booze if you can convince the door people you're someone's manager … which you can. We discussed this.
SXSW is like a hobo shopping mall. Of course, you need a wristband or credentials to get into anywhere where stuff is free, but that's as easy as ripping the media cred lanyard off someone's neck and slicking your hair back with a little creek water.
Keith Ape is omnipresent and the reason why everyone is always screaming
Keith Ape is this Korean trap group that's the most famous band in all the land. No one knows them in the US, but in Korea, they're Jesus, God and Mary. They're really, really, really trying to get a footing over here stateside though, which is probably while we saw them six times at five different showcases, just by chance. The odds are if you're out, you're gonna run into them.
They also play this song over and over and over during every set, and the crowd goes fucking nuts. When they're not onstage, their fans are screaming like Keith Ape in casual conversation, which explains why at this year's SXSW, the most common noise you heard was "AAAAAAAAAAAH." But not like a scared "AAAAAAAAAAAAH" … an indignant one.
So, yeah. SXSW is a crazy place, but hopefully when armed with this intimate knowledge, you'll have no problem transversing security on your way to the free polish sausage tent inside the Miley Dome next year.