Brendan Polmer: Texas is where it’s at, baby

AUSTIN, Texas – For most college students, spring break is a time for lots of rest and relaxation. This is ideally how I would have liked to have spent my final spring break during my college career – but instead, I chose to once again head down to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest music festival. There was no rest or relaxation to be had for me on this trip.

You see, South by Southwest is unlike any sort of music festival you have ever heard of before. It is not your typical festival with a big field, several stages with a rotating schedule of famous, well-known bands. This is more of a city-wide thing – a festival so large that it encompasses all of downtown Austin, with block after block featuring nothing but live music from bands the world over. While rock music seems to be the dominant genre represented at the festival, it is not uncommon to see hip-hop acts, jazz, electronic musicians, DJs, and other strange and eclectic performers (street artists, comedy, poetry) during the festival.

Believe it or not, but seeing nothing but live music day after day, hour after hour soon becomes very exhausting. Throw in endless amounts of cheap and sometimes even free booze, and soon enough your body starts to reject what you’ve been doing to it for the past few days. A few days into the festival, I soon became very ill with what later developed into the flu – effectively killing the rest of my spring break after the festival ended.

This was my third (and last) year covering SXSW for The Hatchet as a student journalist. Lugging a bag (filled with camera equipment and a laptop) around all day and all night, it was not all glamorous all the time. But I had fun interviewing performing artists, making new friends, eating lots of tacos, enjoying the nice Texas heat – something I’ve certainly come to miss since returning to D.C.

Hopefully you will enjoy our coverage from this year’s festival – be sure to check out our online coverage, which includes video footage and day-by-day accounts of our time in Austin.

Brendan’s Picks

Best Show: Lyrics Born at the Cedar Street Courtyard
Best Old Band: R.E.M.
Best Young Band: Skybombers
Best New Band: The London Souls
Best D.C. Band at SXSW: Jukebox The Ghost
Best Concept for a Band: All the hippies playing acoustic instruments along 6th Street
Best Comedy Set: Human Giant
Best Venue: Stubbs
Best Eats: The County Line BBQ

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.