If You’re Not At SXSW To Discover, You’re Not At SXSW For The Right Reasons HOMEPAGE: SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2018
AUSTIN, TX- Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.
While Blurred Culture’s attendance at this year’s festival focused on the music, there were plenty of film previews/premiers, tech exhibitions and speakers that attendees were able to experience. Some of the speakers included the cast from “This Is Us”, Bernie Sanders and Elon Musk. Thankfully- for our sake- SXSW has made some of those speaking engagements available to view on their youtube channel.
Now, back to the music.
Many have noticed that SXSW 2018 seemed to have scaled back it’s grandeur even more so that it did in 2017. Blurred Culture attended SXSW last year (for the first time), and even though we focused primarily on the up-and-coming musical acts, opting to avoid one of the hundreds of sponsor-funded, booze fueled parties, we noticed this year that there were fewer corporate installations/activations/showcases. Absent this year was Youtube’s showcase at The Coppertank. Fader Fort was an invite only event at a significantly smaller venue. There were no Lady Gaga, Justin Timerberlake or Drake sightings. Definitely less opportunity to indulge in free booze and tacos, but on the other hand, foot traffic congestion was significantly better (excepted Saturday night on 6th Street, which was absolutely frightening to endure, and caused me call it an early evening) and the wait in lines to enter into venues wasn’t unbearable.
I personally think that the scale-back is just what the music festival needed. SXSW is supposed to be a showcase for those artists we have yet to discover. Sure, getting to see a big ticket act performing in a smaller than normal venue, is cool and all, but at the end of the day, it’s far removed from the ultimate reason why SXSW was started in the first place.
SXSW co-founder/CEO Roland Swenson was once quoted as saying, “It’s not about Kanye performing to a thousand people at a corporate event. It sounds corny, but it’s about ‘Remember seeing M.I.A. at a tiny club way back when?” … and that’s exactly the point.
There were still thousands of acts yearning to be heard at SXSW. We had over 440 artists on our list of “potential” artists to check out, and though we were only able to catch about 20% of them, we’re proud to suggest that we embodied that spirit that Mr. Swenson talked about. We think we did a pretty good job too of picking some winners as we covered two of the three 2018 Grukle Prize Winners this year (one of the winners twice!).
CLICK THROUGH THE IMAGES BELOW (each one representing a day in Austin) to be directed to all of our thoughts and photo galleries of the recording artists we had the privileged of enjoying this year. It’ll take some time to get it all finished, but hang tight … we’ll get there.
Derrick K. Lee is a music attorney, blogger, concert photographer and co-owner of Blurred Culture. He goes to a lot of shows and sometimes he writes good. Music is his boo.
All photos are edited with iPhoto. Lightroom edits can be made upon request. For prints and/or approvals for special uses of any photo taken by Derrick, please contact him directly.