I drew the truest sound couple I know, Johnny Cash and June Carter. Austin is flooded with artists who draw their imagination and paint murals that lightens the day for us. This power music couple has stood within the test of times through our headphones and speakers. The murals we see now but one day may be a ball of dust but will carry the music on by these artists and so many more.
The Willie Nelson mural was created just before this year’s SXSW. He was the first to showcase his music on ACL, Austin City Limits Live television show in 1974, paving the ways for others to shine their music unto us. He is like the logo of Austin, Texas. This mural stands bright over downtown welcoming all who come forth to feel the music in their bones.
SXSW comes and goes every year but I never grow weary of it and think I never will. I hear the grunts and complaints of people who work downtown, the locals avoiding this area when this music celebration spills over.
I welcome it though, I welcome the hustling bustling of crowds, the music pounding through the bars, authors speaking their hearts out. I welcome the free drinks, the free sunglasses, the free totes, the free coffee and free performances to watch.
I didn’t snatch a SXSW wrist badge, didn’t take off from work but took advantage of my lunch times, mini breaks and stayed after work when I could to catch the festivities. Tied to my desk, staring down my computer, I accepted this dance with music downtown. It was a breath of fresh air to see new people flying and driving in to hear music from all over the world.
There was no itinerary but instead I decided to go by the seat of my pants wonder out with coworkers to discover what was a few blocks away, what rabbit hole I could fall into.
First of all there was the food! Need fuel for this event so what better way than to have the staple of food trucks all along the downtown streets. This food trunk in particular had a cute sign reflecting the actual “I Love You So Much” mural we have on South Congress. Not only that but I managed to snatch free Chick-fil-A burgers at Pandora event along with hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches at the Videotape recharge your phone event.
Cafe Bustelo provided free coffee of your choice for their grand opening during the festivities straight in the heart of 6th Street. Their coffee and their ambiance setting made a strong impact.
What better way to pair coffee than with donuts? After the fast pace walking along the streets we decided to stop at Voodoo to snatch donuts. Our good friend coworker was so kind to give us each one which was enough to give me the greatest sweet tooth I ever encountered but so worth it.
The first day of the week we managed to sneak into the event where we caught a free presentation from the author, Chris Guillebeau. It was a serendipitous moment all falling into place perfectly to find this gem of a guy who I had heard on various interviews one held by one of my favorite YouTube star, Marie Forleo. I was inspired by him because he traveled to every single country, headed his own business, found his joy, and interviewed people across the globe of how they found their joy that lead to their calling.
Right here at my job was an art gallery for anyone to walk in and enjoy. The event was held by Netspend, another company that shares the building with us who shared local artist’s pieces for the public to view. I feel it was a way for travelers to get to know Austin better and for the chance to buy these works of art to share the beauty of them to others.
During Saint Patrick’s Day we caught a band representing the history of Ireland, walking along the streets going in and out of bars playing the traditional Irish music dressed to the nines in kilts.
Grabbed green beer on 2nd street where people in green were in rows of crowds mingling. The place was a cute quaint outside venue for free where right next door, the Irish pub was charging $15 to get in. I was on a streak of free events and wasn’t going to break it.
Street performers filled us in awe of their talents and street wear. One that stood out among the crowds were the Ninja Turtles. Their sign read, “Need Money for Pizza.” Almost every day I would see them along the streets giving people a ride down memory lane.
And had to end on a high note, the main reason SXSW happens, the music. I didn’t catch any big name bands but finding hidden gems made it just as special. For the Pandora event, a Canadian band, The Strumbellas was about to perform during my lunch break and so I spent filling myself up watching their performance. Their music was delicious along with their lyrics that fueled me to feel the love of music.
Not only were there big bands but small street bands that made just as big of a crowd. There were jazz street bands, drummers using buckets and sole singers. Below is a compilation of the music I videotaped along the way.
Hope you enjoyed my mini sound bites of SXSW. What type of music drives your soul, gets you going?