SXSW 2010: Day Two | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

SXSW 2010: Day Two

Mar 19, 2010 Web Exclusive By Mike Hilleary Bookmark and Share

Despite being surrounded by so much abundant musical entertainment, events intended to be a source of enjoyment and relaxation, there’s certainly an underlying stress of work among a lot of SXSW’s attendees. Just because you’re not holding an instrument or singing into a microphone doesn’t mean somebody’s got a job to do. From the venue and restaurant owners, waiters, and bartenders keeping their head on a swivel making sure their revolving door of guests are properly satisfied with food and beverage (mostly of the alcoholic variety), to the event volunteers providing visitors with proper directions and information, there are a lot of things going on in Austin that hardly feel like a vacation for anybody.

Of all the jobs at SXSW, one of the most thankless is definitely anyone involved in pre-performance sound check. With so many bands jumping on and off a single stage it seems like a near impossible task to be constantly adjusting equipment placement and leveling each piece’s volume and balance. Combine that with a bunch of people who have probably spent an unheard of amount of time standing in line and are either physically sore and/or slightly intoxicated, and you’ve got yourself a strong likelihood of some misdirected frustration.

The guys seemingly getting the most enjoyment out of their work—besides those actually playing new and exciting music—are the ones who have made an indirect living following new and exciting music. One of the coolest things being presented at the Austin Convention Center is the Flatstock exhibit, an amazing rock poster show where visitors have the opportunity to view and purchase some really fantastic pieces of band-related art. Featuring a variety of graphic styles, it’s a testament to how one artist’s creativity can influence another in a completely unrelated field.

Of course also on the job are the guys covering SXSW. Bloggers, photographers, and music journalists from the local to international level are all trying to get their collected bits of information into the hands of some potential reader (present company included). Oddly enough, as much as could come across as some massive competition, it should be worth pointing out that there’s actually an interesting networking vibe, where accidental encounters can lead to new relationships and significant connections. It’s evident the next best thing to listening to music is talking about it with people you’ve just met.

SXSW may sometimes feel like a business venture, but it’s undeniable that music falls under the category of industry. From the technical to the creative, there’s probably no better place to see the machine at work than in the Texas capital.



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