Hi everyone it’s me, the guy who lives in a city that has a very popular festival and gets grumpy at outsiders every year. And yes, it’s true that this whole rant comes from a very “get off my lawn” place, but someone needs to say it:
Fuck you SXSW.
For those of you who might not be as familiar with SXSW, it started 28 years ago as an independent music “festival”. I put that in quotes because it’s not like your major concert events that take place in parks or stadiums or smelly-ass fields in the hills of Tennessee; it’s a sprawling event that takes over the city of Austin for a week. Just about every bar, restaurant, or street corner has bands playing live music for a crowd of anywhere between 2 and 2,000 people. For a week. Non-stop. This can be a very cool thing if you’re into independent music, but it can also be a pretty big hassle if you need to park anywhere ever during the month of March. The festival became known as a place where industry insiders could go and check out unheralded bands from around the world, like when the Eagles signed Marky Mark off the street. Small bands could mingle with industry bigshots, and take their crack at the big time. There might be a handful of bands that you had heard of, but this was mostly an underground event for much of its existence.
And now there’s this:
Underexposed artists like Pitbull are finally getting their shot God bless him. The fact that Willie Nelson is also playing on Saturday but the top billing goes to Keith Urban tells you everything you need to know.
The “interactive” festival starts this weekend, followed by film, and then the music. Right now, thousands of attendees are preparing by going wardrobe shopping in order to look like they haven’t gone wardrobe shopping in 15 years. It’s a big contest of people trying to outdo everyone else wearing clear-framed mom-glasses, 1920s baseball game attendee-style hats, and of course the omni-present skinny jeans.
I blame SXSW for people now referring to “Americana” music as “indie” music. I blame SXSW for giving me long-ass lines at even the worst restaurants in Austin. Hey you know what this city needs? 50,000 more cars. Fuck you SXSW for making it impossible to order a pizza during the month of March. Fuck you SXSW for stealing St. Patrick’s Day’s thunder- a holiday that deserves its own independent celebration. Fuck you SXSW for making people google what “SXSW” stands for.
SXSW has expanded into a two-week mutual masturbation session of music, film, and something called “interactive” which is just a buzzword for “technology.” I’m going to go downtown with a hand clicker and get carpal tunnel from counting how many times the word “disruptive” is used. Hey do you like apps? Well here’s a million of them and they’re all named Swickl. Make sure you catch my panel at SXSWi this year where I’ll be presenting my app that helps you name apps. Here’s just a small sample of the other prestigious discussions that will be shaping the future of tech this year:
Check out those indie-ass sponsors!
Subway- 14 totally hackable subs!
Deloitte- the most disruptive predator drone systems in the world!
Fuck you Deloitte, you don’t get to sponsor a minor PGA tour event and an independent music festival in the same year.
Also, fuck you SXSW for demanding that the world pay attention to you. You’re a blip on the radar for most of America and yet you pretend that the world’s eyes are upon you. I’m looking forward to every “passionate” start-up CEO trying to tie in his shitty Groupon 2.0 app to how Ukrainian protestors are changing the world.
Fuck $7 ATM fees, fuck having no bathrooms, fuck Rachel Ray’s husband’s band, fuck trying to get a cab, fuck traffic, fuck waiting 30 minutes to get a drink, fuck seeing the same band 6 times, fuck your stupid glasses that you don’t need, fuck the $800 price tag for JUST the music badge, fuck acting like mustaches are all kinds of hilarious and awesome and indie, fuck guerilla performances in annoying places like a bus or elevator, fuck secret shows that you need the $1600 platinum pass to get into, fuck people standing around watching Bill Murray bartend and laughing every time he pours a shot, fuck secret performances that get started at 3 AM, fuck trash, fuck attractive people who go out of their way to look frumpy, fuck jacked up prices at normally cheap taco places, fuck brand representatives, fuck hipsters who are offended by the “hipster” label, fuck people complaining about why Uber isn’t here yet, fuck wearing 9 different wristbands all week, fuck getting asked “where are the bats?”, and fuck you SXSW.
I’m still going though.