I’ve always wondered what the SXSW experience is like for artists. I know a lot of it is a blur of performances and press, but outside of their commitments, what do they do? After spending an afternoon with the lovely Zella Day, and talking with some of the other artists in town, I learned that it’s really not much different than it is for everyone else. That’s what I love the most about SXSW… for over a week, Austin is literally buzzing with music and people. Try and escape the constant rhythmic beats and melodies that float through the air and echo off of buildings on every corner – you won’t be able to. Those who partake in the madness are all here for one thing: the music. Artists become fans, and fans get the opportunity to mingle with the artists – at every show I went to, I spotted other artists in the crowd, enjoying the work of their peers. We’re all just soaking it in: this beautiful city, its friendly people, its food, and the countless shows taking place. The festival also brings old friends together – bands who have toured together, former coworkers, friends visiting from out of town — creating a joyous atmosphere as people are reunited from far and wide around a common love of all things music. I couldn’t wait to hang with Zella again and spend some time exploring Austin before checking out one of her shows… thanks for letting me tag along!
Here’s what Zella had to say about her SXSW experience:
Highlight: Walking back from the most epic show I played at SXSW in the rain with a cup of Jeni’s salty caramel ice cream in my hand.
Best Food: I finally got to try some queso! Thank god I like cheese.
Favorite show I played: I played the Pandora soundstage for my very last show. The clouds parted so it stopped raining just in time for my set and I got to use a wireless microphone… I ran around the stage like a spaz. There were people who couldn’t get in to the venue watching the show from wherever they could; the bridge on 6th street, the side alley, and from the rooftop of a different building. I had a special moment on the Pandora stage.
Favorite show I caught: I caught Best Coast at the Hype Hotel with front woman Bethany Cosentino in a striped pant suit. Hot.