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Thursday, March 05, 2009

SXSW 2009 : The Basics

SXSW is almost here. Over the next few weeks I'll be writing on the parties I'm attending and the bands I'm most looking forward to seeing. However, let's start with some background on the festival. SXSW is a gathering of people from the Film, Interactive, and Music industries. We're only concerned with the music so let's focus on that. This will be my first SXSW and the following is what I've gathered from friends (let me know if I get something wrong):

First, it's massive. Over 2,000 bands descend on the city to play as many gigs as they can book. Bands play everywhere - bars, grocery stores, clothing shops, warehouses, taco stands, random backyards, street corners, etc. You can't escape them.

The festival runs from Wednesday, March 18th through Sunday, March 22nd. The day parties are from 11 AM - 6 PM, evening showcases from 8 PM - 2 AM, and the overnight parties that last until 5 AM. It's almost 24 hours of music and drinking for 5 days. A recipe for disaster if you don't pace yourself.

How much does all this costs? There are three options:

A. Buy a badge for $650 and get priority access to all the official showcases.

B. Buy a wristband for $165 and get access to the official showcases but you'll have to wait in line for the more popular shows (if you get in at all).

C. Pay nothing and just attend the countless free parties and unofficial showcases.

I opted, as I usually do, for Plan B. Considering I'll go to a lot of the free day parties and fewer of the evening showcases, it didn't make sense for me to shell out the big bucks. Plus, they were selling wristbands to Austin residents for only $129. That's a no-brainer.

A while back I listed some of the DC bands I hoped would make it to SXSW. Of those on my list, only These United States is playing. However, that doesn't mean DC won't be well represented. Others performing include Carol Bui, Middle Distance Runner, Deleted Scenes, and The Hall Monitors (if I missed some please let me know in the comments). I'm told that there will be another DC Does TX showcase but I'm still waiting to hear the official band list.


Jumbo Slice said...

I just read there are already 498 parties scheduled for the week of SXSW. You can see why I'm having a hard time scheduling what shows I want to see. There are so many bands playing all over the city at any given time. It's crazy.

Valerie said...

Well, Thao Ngyuen and the Get Down Stay Down are laying and are generally considered a DC band. I'd consider them tied with These United States for best representation from DC. A few other DC artists are going to be in Austin, including US Royalty, and a bunch of DJs like Tittsworth and Nadastrom.

Jumbo Slice said...

Good point Valerie. Of all the SXSW bands with ties to DC, Thao is without a doubt my favorite. I don't know if she and the GDSD think of themselves as a DC group but I should've mentioned them nonetheless. I'm planning to see at least two of their sets. It'll be interesting to hear some of the songs off her upcoming album.

Jimbromski said...

make sure you find out who Thao and Co will be laying and try and document it on film

scoop of the year