In most of the country, March Madness refers to the college basketball play offs. Here in Austin, it means full on invasion...other wise known as South By SouthWest. Started in 1987 as a way to draw major labels and venue booking agents to come to town and attend showcases, mostly by local musicians, SXSW has evolved into a major music conference/festival which pretty much takes over the whole town. As competition from already signed bands and solo acts made it near impossible for the locals to get any attention and crowds making wristbands all but worthless for getting into the most popular shows, many local venues have chosen not to participate officially. Instead, many of them host their own non-sanctioned showcases. Most of these guerrilla showcases are free or have very small cover charges. The official music portion of South By (as locals call it) got started today. However, the interactive (geek) conference and the film festival began last week. At the same time, the rodeo was in town as well as the state basketball playoffs.
I worked a shift at Ten Thousand Villages today. It is on terminally trendy South Congress Avenue and next door to the Continental Club, one of Austin's oldest music venues. Across the street is Joe's Coffee where a stage was set up in the parking lot. A little farther up the street, Guero's had a band out side. Some poor guy had an easy up where he was trying to sell some shirts but I think the real reason for his 'booth' was that he wanted to showcase all by himself. He had a small amp and a guitar and was being totally drowned out by the music from Guero's.
Friday I will be downtown until 7pm. Please pray for my safe escape back to the wilds of Far South Austin.
Soundtrack for this post: Every song you can think of