Here’s a secret you may already know but don’t really know you know: South by Southwest is the most amazing music festival in the states. No, it is. Oh, you’ve been to Coachella and love it? Cool beans. It’s got nothing on SXSW. Nor do any other music festivals I have been to or heard of, to be quite honest. There is just so much music. Not a handful of outdoor stages with 15 bands a day, we’re talking easily a hundred venues ranging in size from a Coachella stage to a tiny dive bar, and just about everything in between. The shows are much more intimate and there are hundreds of artists, from global names to groups of kids without a label. They go from noon–2am for a week, and they’re all hungry to put on a great show.
I just returned from my third stint at SX and my favorite part of the festival remains constant: that your time there is flexible and fun. You can plan on being at whatever show you want and get in line as early as you want, but the best way to enjoy it is to have contingency plans and a chill attitude. The same attitude of the natives. Go with the flow and you’ll have a blast. Can’t get into that big-name act you could technically see closer to where you live? Awesome. Go walk next door and discover someone new. Chances are you’ll leave Austin like me, with a long list of new bands to check out.
The weather is usually perfect with sunny skies and lukewarm evenings and the food is just amazing. I may be biased being from Texas, but if you know the right places to go, there’s just nothing better by way of BBQ and Tex-Mex. And then, of course, the people are just as friendly as can be. On top of all the music, which lasts the last part of the second week, there’s also a huge film festival and interactive festival beforehand. Just so much going on.
I could ramble on all day about SXSW, recap favorite shows, drunken
memories occurrences, bits, insides jokes, etc., but there’s just no describing it without actually going. Which leads me to the point of this post. Flatstock. Flatstock is a collection of poster artists that congregate during the festival to showcase and sell their work, which is a convention center room of limited-run, screen printed gig posters. It’s art / music lover heaven. There is so much talent and I always leave a few hundred dollars poorer but with an armful of amazing pieces.
Check out most of the artists and their work at Gigposters.com. They all sell their prints on there as well, usually for around $20 a pop, which isn’t bad at all considering you get a totally frameable piece of art at the fraction of the cost of work from a gallery.
Below are a few of my most recent acquisitions from Flatstock. I was also going to put up a lot more photos from our recent days in Austin, but you can see those on my Facebook. Besides, pictures just do not do the festival justice. Do yourself a favor and go next year, you won’t regret it.