AUSTIN, Texas – The South by Southwest music festival is unlike anything else in the world. For four days, it’s as if the entire music industry from all over the world descends upon downtown Austin, Texas, for a chance to experience all things musical. While it is primarily geared towards rock music, it is not uncommon for hip-hop, jazz and electronic artists to showcase their talents as well.
Unlike other music festivals, SXSW is a citywide celebration of music from all over the world. Austin is considered the live music capital of America, and maybe the world. More than 50 music clubs in a single downtown area host live music from early afternoon well into early morning, allowing more than 1,500 bands and artists to participate.
Walking down the main drag of 6th Street in downtown Austin during the festival, one enters into a cacophony of sounds emanating from every building.
There are many well-known and popular bands that play at SXSW every year, which this year included Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Bloc Party and Kings of Leon, among many others. But there are also hundreds upon hundreds of bands that only a handful of people know about, which is why it is such a great festival for bands to get discovered and listened to.
The music journalist plays a very important role at SXSW. After all, we are the ones responsible for creating the “buzz” about new and talented artists. This is why the festival embraces journalists from all over the place, allowing for even us small-fry college newspaper reporters to apply for press credentials and photo passes.
There was something terribly satisfying about covering this incredible event. There we were, two 21-year-old kids, being thrown into a press photo pit no less than 2 feet away from some of our favorite musical heroes.
We met other reporters from professional newspapers and magazines, we befriended numerous up-and-coming bands through a shared love of music (and alcohol), and we got a chance to interview and write about some really exciting people within the industry. It was like being in the movie about the teenage Rolling Stone reporter “Almost Famous,” to be quite honest.
For this year’s festival, we decided to take our coverage of SXSW into the digital age and go beyond the print edition. As a “new media” appears to be emerging through the use of the Internet (blogs, digital pictures and video, sound bytes, etc.) in the professional media realm, we decided it was time for The Hatchet’s coverage to move in that direction as well and created a SXSW music blog.
After returning to our hotel each morning somewhere around 3:30 a.m., half-drunk and musically exhausted, we’d sit down for a nice early breakfast of French toast and eggs at a 24-hour Denny’s with our laptops and write away on our fancy new blog until about 6 a.m., all the while posting pictures and uploading video.
We hope you enjoy our hard work (and our fun!) as much as we did, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s festival coverage.