My Take on SXSW 2012: Film, Music, Interactive, and More

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Who didn’t have an event? On the music front, B and C listers were all there, Bruce was there, Gary Vee called all wine aficionados to a so called ‘private’ venue immediately next to another so called ‘private’ party I was at and the line was ten miles long by the time I walked outside. Really? Is that really the way to engage with folks? A great way to get SXSW publicity so from that perspective, stints like that really work, but they’re far from “real” or intimate. I just wanted to say ‘hey’ without a thousand pushes and shoves. For the record.

The XPrize folks also held an event and it was invite only and really felt like “invite only.” Not a publicity ‘stunt’ in any way, everyone I met was top notch and showed up because they had a vested interest or cared about the kinds of things they cared about. Quality conversations where people weren’t looking at their watch or Foursquare check-ins to see where the coolest cats were hanging next next. A welcome relief.

If you’re not familiar with their work, go here: their mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Below, an XPrize team shot: (I love these guys and btw, Peter Diamandis has a new book out entitled Abundance).

Xprize event (3)

My favorite part of SXSW is the randomness of meetings at film and music more than interactive, for at the former, there still seems to be more spontaneity, largely I think because of mutual passions rather than a race for check-ins or being ‘seen’ at the right party and telling the whole world about it on Foursquare, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, yadda yadda yadda.

I’m not saying that politics and social klout doesn’t run rampant in the film and music world, but passion for the ‘art’ still stands tall…..maybe not in Hollywood, but definitely at SXSW.

The blogger lounge is on the top floor where it always is, around the corner from the press lounge, which had massages this year. The blogger lounge has occasional ‘acts’ and social media gurus of sorts popping in and out. (a little red badge gets you into it if you’re a blogger).

This was more of a ‘center’ in previous years, but today, less so. It doesn’t mean you can’t still show up and meet up with old buds, converse with folks in the biz you haven’t seen in awhile or folks you still haven’t met, but things are so spread out and there’s so much ‘more’ grabbing our attention that “hanging out” in the blogger lounge seem to be few and far between.

Angers France Booth (1)Angiers France came out in force with a very creative booth, full of color, energy and design. (yarn, that is).

The photo to the right has a combination of woven yarn, paint, and wire among other materials.

While the booth was creative and the Canadians fed us French toast, strawberries and homemade maple syrup, the Irish shamrock tattoos that Enterprise Ireland dished out had to be my favorite giveaway. (Sure, I’m biased but it’s the truth). A lot more fun than pens, pads, stickers, drives and balloons.

The below very ‘blurry” image of pianist Eric Lewis, a favorite ‘musical’ experience by TEDsters who saw him perform a few years back in Long Beach, was taken at a Mashery Party at Sandra Bullock’s Austin restaurant. The “blurr” gives you an idea of his energy and personality, therefore is untouched. It’s “Eric” in every way. The party was of the classier events held at SXSW this year. Well done Oren!

Eric-Lewis (5)

Attacked by the Scottish on the show floor? Hardly but it’s hard to resist men in kilts: Me with Ewan Spence and Tam Coyle. (notice the l’il Irish shamrock on my hand. Wonder if they did? :-)

Ewan-spence renee-blodgett-Tam-Coyle (1)

Below dana Boyd with Baratunde Thurston on the Fast Company FLUX Generation panel.

Fast Company Flux Panel (6)

As always, Blumberg Capital held an incredible meet-up for their start-up companies & friends. Flow, drinks, conversation, networking was top notch. Well done to David and his team.


The below is a l’il local bar and street scene music action, albeit blurry…blurry is in some ways more ‘suitable’ for SXSW, despite the fact that I had my Canon 7D and 2 good lenses with me.

Music on the street (11)

Music on the street (2)

Two fun ‘street scenes’ very late at night. Or morning. Or whatever.

Music on the street (5)

Music on the street (6)

The week can be a bit exhausting (okay, very) even when you’re not trying to race from event to event. Below is a taste of just a day and a half and a few of these bands fell off. And, all the film stuff was equally thick hanging around my neck.


As a complete aside and for kicks, refer to my insanely hard-to-follow post on “how to stay healthy” in Austin during SXSW if you have the strength to avoid all the free beer and Texas ribs. For more on food/wine, go here and for more on events, check out the number of events I cover under one section.

Renee Blodgett, Founder: Down the Avenue, We Blog the World, Magic Sauce Media and Magic Sauce Photography


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