10 SXSW Moments

Brandon Caldwell | 3/18/2014, 8:49 p.m. | Updated on 3/18/2014, 8:49 p.m.
There are always life lessons involved in going to SXSW and this year’s was no different. From big brand showcases ...

There are always life lessons involved in going to SXSW and this year’s was no different. From big brand showcases to the discovery of new artists and the overall wear and tear it does on your body – South By Southwest will always be one of those festivals you tell your friends about every year and even when you warn them, they still have no idea what they may experience. Here’s our main lessons to learn from those who went down to Austin last weekend.

1. Even Working The Showcases Is Tiring

At the annual AllHipHop.com showcase, I played assistant stage manager as opposed to just a regular member of the press. Think 6th Street is tiring? Consider the countless organizers and event staff that worked to ensure that each show, more or less, ran smoothly. And that’s strictly on the surface level. – Cecilia Smith

2. Every Moment Is A Networking Opportunity

You can walk the street and bump into somebody who’s a big name in any industry. Comedy, film, music, television, it doesn’t matter. A few years ago, Diddy walked around with Machine Gun Kelly as if it were nothing. Now Diddy’s doing a panel where a rapper could interrupt him and hand him his demo tape. It’s the land of make believe for some rappers – if they choose to do so. – Brandon Caldwell

3. The Crash That Changed Everything

Wednesday night, I was on one end of downtown, near the convention center checking out Jay Z & Kanye West. Our brand director Trevor Piper was milling around on the other, near Red River and 10th before heading back towards me. Then, tragedy happened and none of us could really let it sink in.

By now, we know the story: a 21-year old man attempted to flee police during a DWI stop and instead hit two people on a bike and moped, killing them. Then he turned down 9th and Red River, barreled through the barricade and struck even more people, killing one and injuring 22 others.

Maybe because I was telling the story online, few bothered to check on me or know my whereabouts. But, for a lot of people in Austin, their phones turned into beams of hope and relief. “Are you OK? Oh my God, are you OK?”

It still feels weird to think what could have happened, and how it could have been even worse. - BC

4. Samsung Won The Brand Wars

It’s no real secret that corporate brands have invaded SXSW over the last few years and this one was no exception. Doritos had a giant stage set up near Stubbs BBQ where the main highlight was Lady Gaga getting vomited on. Samsung, who held the aforementioned Jay Z & Kanye West show among a week of showcases, especially benefited from good brand exposure by offering free phone charges to those in need of new batteries in Austin. No word if Sprint will ever give anyone service though. – CS