It’s as if spring heralds the return of a new year with the advent of what is now being dubbed “festival season.” Epic among industry names, SXSW (South By Southwest) is an amalgam of films, music performances, and conferences that takes place annually in Austin, Texas. But let’s get down to the nitty gritty about the happenings that took place this year.
We will never stop loving Lady Gaga for her reinvention and theatrics, and as the keynote presenter and headlining act, she did not disappoint. In a one-hour show, sponsored by Doritos, an oversized roasting spit and a mechanical pig functioned as eccentric props, and a vomit artist threw up on Gaga’s chest (phew!). Stuffed with creative vision and just the right touch of weird, Lady Gaga wasn’t all about theatrics and threw out earnest vocals that sucked in the crowd.
And the list of heavy-hitters didn’t stop there. 50 Cent (genuinely showing off an “indie” reinvention), Kanye, Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Childish Gambino, and Soundgarden (for all you 90s lovers) all made appearances. One of our fave chicks, Charli XCX, performed along with LA buzz bands and K-pop stars. Kelis – who apparently also had a themed food truck to coincide with her new release – served up jerk ribs, duck confit sliders, BBQ, and coleslaw.
A$AP Rocky premiered his film “SVDDXNLY,” and a Jimi Hendrix biopic was shown with Andre 3000 playing the doomed rocker. Snoop Dogg, Phantogram, and The 1975 had live tapings (we’re going to start scouring YouTube to relive those moments). And who wouldn’t want to see the fabulous Janelle Monae belt out tunes? Let’s just say SXSW knows how to serve up a feast for the senses, even for the nerds – all hail Neil deGrasse Tyson!
But we can’t end this post without addressing the tragedy that occurred. It’s a reminder that at the end of the day nothing is as important as the fragility of life and our loved ones. In spite of all the grief, let’s remember all of the great things that happened during SXSW and appreciate the goodness that came out of it.
Photos courtesy of Salon.com, Billboard, NPR, and Rolling Stone.