Bill and I picked up our badges and guides for South by Southwest (SXSW) this afternoon at the Austin Convention Center. SXSW Interactive and Film begin tomorrow. Music starts later next week.
Now that I’ve recovered, it’s time for a final entry about SXSW 2016. For me, this year’s highlight was seeing Evan Smith’s interview with President Obama. I also enjoyed the Interactive sessions with Jimmy Wales, Ken Burns, Brené Brown, and Gretchen Rubin. My favorite films—all documentaries—were The American Epic Sessions, Tower, and Starving the Beast. I only saw a small sample of the 2,200 bands that were in town, but the most memorable performances were by Lucius, Sarah Jarosz, Jake Bugg, Fantastic Negrito, and Iggy Pop/Josh Homme. Here’s some of the other interesting things that I saw at the SXSW exhibitions (Create, Trade Show, Music Gear Expo, Gaming Expo) and around downtown:
Saturday was my last day for SXSW 2016. I listened to the bands at the Austin Convention Center stages. Bill and I both enjoyed watching comedian Doug Benson tape one of his Doug Loves Movies podcasts at the Stateside. In the evening, we listened to more music at Central Presbyterian Church.
My second SXSW Friday was mostly music. I started the day with a movie at the Alamo Ritz, then caught bands at the Austin Convention Center and Rainey Street. I spent the evening at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary. A cold front blew through around 9 PM. Downtown didn’t get much rain, but due to lightning, SXSW temporarily closed the outdoor venues, including the big stage at Auditorium Shores. I was glad to be inside.
Downtown Austin was quite crowded with the convergence of SXSW Music and St. Patrick’s Day. I tried to stay away from the craziness. I spent the afternoon at the Austin Convention Center, wandering back and forth between the two upstairs stages and looking around the Gaming, Music Gear, and Flatstock Expos on the first floor. In the evening, I listened to several fine performances in St. David’s Historic Sanctuary.
This was the first full day of SXSW Music. Dreading another long security line I skipped the panel discussion with Michelle Obama, and was quite happy with my choice of a music documentary instead. The rest of my day was spent listening to bands, and ended with a last-minute decision to see Iggy Pop.
The Ides of March…also known as Convergence Day at SXSW 2016. This was the last day of Interactive and the first day of Music. (Film continues throughout the festival.) Daytime highs were again over 90°, but dropped after sunset, when Bill and I visited some official SXSW parties.
Day 4 of SXSW was hot (90+) with long lines. I was disappointed that I couldn’t get into the main afternoon sessions. But there’s always something else interesting to see and do at SXSW Interactive.
I chose three popular, celebrity-focused Interactive sessions today, and all involved long lines or waits. But I was not disappointed. Later in the day, I looked around the Trade Show at the Austin Convention Center and then walked over to the Zach Scott Theatre for another movie premiere.
Although I enjoyed seeing President Obama on Friday, I felt like Saturday was my first real day at SXSW 2016. I attended many interesting and informative Interactive sessions and finished with a documentary in the evening.