South by Southwest (SXSW) sounds a double vibe — the frightening and the fantastic


Trust (the band)

Trust (the band) performing at SXSW 2014. Photo credit: Andrea Vargas

AUSTINThe smell of booze, sweat and vomit grow stronger as I get closer to 6th street, which is the city’s urban core located downtown that is historical and filled with entertainment in Austin, Texas.

Nonetheless, the different types of people, the friends that surround me, the free shows and certain films that I want to see outweighs the repulsiveness of it.

South by Southwest or as it is commonly known as SXSW is a set of film, interactive, and music festivals and conferences that take place early every year during March in Austin.

I’ve gone every year since 2011 and I noticed that each year after that, the people have become more obnoxious because of the free alcohol that’s available practically in each venue.

RSVPing is important in this festival, for example Fader Fort is an invite-only installation at SXSW that is a four-day party event that is sponsored by Levi’s and is, by far, the most popular because of the amount of famous people it brings.

This year it brought Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Gorillaz and many more. Not everyone gets in, but I was lucky enough to get confirmed and I got a plus one that I was able to sell for $50.

SXSW 2014

Company letters in the sky promoting business at SXSW. Photo credit: Andrea Vargas

Although the big shows were good, the smaller shows were even better. It was more intimate and the crowds were way friendlier as if I knew these strangers for years.

As the night went on, a couple of friends and I were on our way to go to the Mohawk nightclub to see a show, but instead we decided to stop by the food trucks to eat and sober up.

All of our phones were dead and we had lost track of a couple of our friends, I walked 10 blocks to find my friend’s car and it wasn’t until I got to my boyfriends apartment when I was informed of the incident at the Mohawk venue.

Rashad Charjuan Owens drove his car into a crowded area and crashed into the Mohawk venue killing two people and leaving 23 injured on Wednesday, March 12 and is now facing capital murder charges.

Relief and sadness came over me, I found out the next day that two people that I knew were severely injured and I couldn’t help but think I could’ve been one of them.

The next day was totally different, everybody seemed to have a blank stare and being more obnoxious and belligerent. More cops were around and some were on their horses and I saw one person getting tasered and two people getting peppered sprayed in the face.

Mohawk Venue

The Mohawk Venue where two people were killed this year at SXSW. Photo credit: Andrea Vargas

Every show always reached over capacity and there people getting on the fences trying knock it down to get into a show, it caused some riots which mainly involved the people versus the police.

Tyler, The Creator, was arrested inciting a riot at SXSW. The 23-year-old rapper encouraged a large crowd of fans to push their way past venue employees to access the show when it was already at full capacity.

There are over 100 bands that play in this festival, I asked some locals that work in the tattoo parlor on 6th street said that they don’t think it’s worth it because every group that plays only gets to play three songs and then everybody is in a hurry to get off stage and everything gets so crowded and people tend to get very hostile.

Despite all the terrible stuff that happened, it’s the only type of festival that contains film and music and you see famous artists walking around getting involved with the “regular” people and hanging out.

SXSW is generally for everybody; whether they want to see certain artists perform or see an Indie film. People benefit going to this event in some way or another and mostly it’s for the entertainment and connections.

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