South by Southwest Music Festival + Conference
@ Austin, Texas (13th-18th Mar '07)
Feature Special SXSW 2007
- Intro - Austin Rocks!
The town was rockin' - no other way to say it. And I mean the WHOLE town: wherever you looked, wherever there was enough space for a musician, there was enough space for a show. Usual venue and concert halls across the city were packed till the wee hours every night, but there was no need to be there, since every bar, club and street corner (even fashion shops!) became center stage for countless musicians from all over the world. No matter where you were or what you did in this town, a flood of sound surrounded you from all of the directions, the noise of smiling people mixing with laughter, chatter and dancing. |
This was especially true on 6th street, the center of the festival. The entire area was a blur of sound, motion. The people and energy here reminded me a lot of Shibuya crossing in Tokyo and London's Oxford Street during the pre-Christmas rush. It was impossible to find any calm or quiet here, but no one comes to SXSW for calm and quiet. No, the thousands upon thousands of global music fans descend on Austin, Texas to have bloody good fun.
The guy who introduced this rockin' festival the first time for Smashing Mag was Ryota Mori, one of our best regular freelance photographers contributing to us. His 2004 reporthelped us imagine perfectly how exciting it was, but pictures and media only say so much. The way you experience something through words and pictures can frequently be damn wrong. You've got to experience it for yourself - to be there to feel and touch the real things or you would be missing something essential and real. We have been reporting about this festival as well as Glastonbury in the UK, Fuji Rock in Japan and The Green Man in Wales, but no matter how good the photos and articles were, there is no comparison with being there.
My first journey to SXSW was last year, 2006. I was hired as an MC and photographer for the Japanese Shamisen Extravaganza Tour, which introduced the traditional music of Japan to the States. I was there for 2 days - my first touch of the festival. The tour headed to some other cities in the US, so I wasn't there nearly long enough, but only a couple of days were good enough to have an extraordinary experience in a madly rockin' town. I knew then that I would be back to see more. As a result, I joined forces with Sam, Keco and Ryota who have been covering this festival for the last couple of years.
Well, how many musicians were there? The answer simply is a lot! There were too many to count. It seemed like something amazing was happening every minute, and if you didn't plan well you'd miss it. One of the incredible moments I missed this time was Booker T & MGs. You see, even with a good plan, you have to know the location of the venue and how long it takes from one to another or you would loose a chance. Timing is everything.
While there were so many big names playing and listed, there were lots of unknown talents everywhere. I was in love with a Skiffle band on the 6th street and some Australian guys playing in a tiny space at a super market far from the center of the festival. I had more fun finding those unknown talents than checking out the superstars.
Unfortunately this time, there were no writers covering the festival for Smashing Mag, but with lots of photo reports, perhaps you can get a sense of the festival, maybe even hear the music and noise from this rockin' town. And since Ryota was there as the official photographer of the 50 Kaitenz, there might be some special photo reports of the band hanging around the town, we hope.
We hope these photos give you an idea of what was happening. Maybe next time you can have as much fun as we did running up and down Austin's rockin' streets.
comment and photo by hanasan
|==> Feature Special SXSW 2007 : Intro (JPN | ENG)
||==> Smashing Mag top page : JPN / ENG
SXSW 2007 (07/03/13-18 @ Austin, Texas) : report by ryota,sam,keco,hanasan
SXSW 2006 (06/03/15-19 @ Austin, Texas) : report by ryota,sam,keco,toddy,taisuke,taeko,taiki,hanasan
SXSW 2005 (05/03/16-20 @ Austin, Texas) : report by ryota,sam,toddy,taisuke
SXSW 2004 (04/03/17-21 @ Austin, Texas) : report by ryota
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