SXSW with DJ Mappquest

What is SXSW? It is a film, interactive, and musical festival held annually in Austin, Texas – the music capital.

What do you do there? Too much to say. But to name a few, attend lectures, sessions, seminars to learn a few new things, attend panels to hear what the experts in the field have to say, see exhibition halls filled with tons of businesses and artists and what they have to provide, make and/or watch film/products, and, what I did primarily, go to showcases and concerts for MANY artists. You can also network with like-minded individuals and other professionals, make new friends, and much more.

So what did I do? I went to A LOT of music events and a couple of panels.

By no stretch am I a professional blogger/journalist of music, or even an expert in music. Im also not going to sit here and type out my daily journal of what happened at South by Southwest (SXSW). Even if you wanted that, I didn’t physically record anything down. What I am writing is based on my memory (plus a few things I looked up on the bands I will be discussing). I will be writing about what I learned plus whether you should or shouldn’t go next year.

Speaking of bands, here is who I saw in no real order: JMSN, Action Bronson, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Butch Walker, Afrobeta, Matt Nathanson, Fall Out Boy, Wallpaper., Capital Cities, Dead Sara, Baauer, 12th Planet, Candyland, Open Mike Eagle, Louis Logic, Urban Achievers (a street performing group I saw on 6th Street while I was waltzing around), Robert Delong, Michael Kiwanuka, Amanda Shires, Craze, Rudimental, Two Fresh, Monsta, UZ, Just Blaze, Track Dogs, Pajaro, and New Ivory. There’s a few more but I couldn’t catch their name.

Needless to say this is an action-packed event and anyone who says they were bored were not doing it right. You can go to relax and enjoy the atmosphere, but there is never any shortage on things to do, whether you had a badge to go to all events of a certain part of SXSW, a wristband, or were just trying to crash a party (or ten). On behalf of KSSU, I attended to experience the festival in all its glory – and I did.

In terms of music, there is something for everyone. Whether you love death metal, bluegrass, Americana, pop, dubstep, electronica, hip hop, alternative, country, and much much more. There is at least one performer of every genre per day, but usually more. I will not lie, however, that SXSW can be extremely overwhelming. My first day I had to retreat back to my hotel room and sleep on what I just saw.

As you can see from my list of bands I saw, I have a wide range taste in music, which is a blessing and a curse. I am blessed to have options, but cursed as I missed many bands I couldn’t see without mastering the science of human cloning. I missed out on Deadmau5, Benny Benassi, Soul Rebels, Lianne La Havas, Kendrick Lamar, and quite a few more. I will probably write future blogs either based on genre or showcases of bands I saw for those wanting to know about those bands. I also attended two panels: “Is blogging the curator for hip hop?” and “Women in metal: Why is this still an issue?” Those, too, will be addressed in another blog (or two).

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, and I lived it up to the max. Tons and tons and tons of music, food, and beverages, plus gain a worldly base of knowledge from everyone in attendance and more.

So should you attend? Depends. Nearly everyone loves music, but it isnt as simple as attending merely because you love a certain genre of music or more. You must be able to tolerate tens of thousands of people in a condensed area. You will be bumped, shoved, pushed, and be uncomfortably close to people whether you wanted it or not. You have to be apt to walking some distance, otherwise you will be spending an outrageous amount of money on taxis or bike taxis (either way, expensive). You cannot have a xenophobia of any sorts. This is a worldly event (I met people from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, England, Australia, Spain, Germany and France to name a few). If you hate or fear people who speak other languages around you, or cant speak English well (or at all), ad other things of the sort, dont come.

Lastly, I recommend, but this isnt mandatory, that those who come arrive with a hunger for things outside of your box of things you like. It is tempting to see films, panels, and concerts with/on things you know or like, but it is great to see or hear things you have absolutely no clue on. I am happy to have heard Broken Buffalo, The Kickbacks, and much more.

I learned that willpower can get you to where ever you want to go (energy drinks are optional). I learned that there are tons of good people in the world and many of them come to SXSW. I also learned to appreciate sitting down in chairs when possible (sitting at a music festival leaves chairs to be a comodity). Lastly, but definitely not least, is that Texans are proud of Texas. This cannot be emphasized enough. If you speak ill of even the shoddy streets and sidewalks in parts of Austin, they might resent that.

So start saving money if the things I said doesnt deter you. Be ready for late nights, tons of people (sober and not-so-sober), good food, drinks, and a great environment.

Josue “Josh” Alvarez Mapp, a.k.a. DJ Mappquest, hosts two shows on during the Spring of 2013. On Tuesdays 6-7 PM, DJ Mappquest discusses the latest in sports news, and on Fridays 8-10 PM, music and relationship advice is dispensed. Check both of them out on


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