Sunday, March 21, 2010

SXSW Festival, Austin, Texas

Jim and I have left the beautiful, but cold and rainy Sunshine Coast, BC, for Texas and the South by Southwest Music and Film Festival in Austin, Texas. We are staying with our good friends Gary and Jody Askins in Salado, Texas.
We left for Austin on Thursday and spent two full days listening to all kinds of music from bands from around the world. We spent Thursday afternoon at the famous Waterloo Records where they held an outdoor concert. We enjoyed music by Ola Podrida, Carrie Rodriguez and The Watson Twins. All were good, but Carrie Rodriguez and band were especially impressive. Her south American influenced bluesy/rock tunes were great and she played a variety of instruments including guitar and violin.
Unexpected and impressive was the solar powered stage and sound system by Sustainable Waves. I ended up interviewing them for the online magazine I edit, Sustainable Coast which deals in environmental and sustainability issues for the Sunshine Coast.
Friday morning we attended the acoustic brunch hosted by BMI and Billboard at the Four Seasons hotel. Great brunch and free open bar. So I enjoyed Bloody Mary's with my music. Heard seventeen year old Cara Salimando, Sam James from Boston and Tommy Reilly from Scotland. Even got a cowboy hat that I will be able to wear to next year's Egmont Saloon night!
Jim and I then decided to go to 6th Street where there are lots of clubs and free music and beer. One place was featuring all Canadian bands for the week. But we decided to go into a club that was featuring international bands. An Australian band was just finishing up and we enjoyed the next band from Mexico, Da Punto Beat. Good rock with a hard-driving bass. All this was presented by Dart Music International which is an Austin-based nonprofit.
There was lots of street music and theatre on 6th Steet. Including a parade through the area by the band Guar. They have been around Austin for a long time and are really something to see in their monster/warrior costumes. A parade of people were following them as they made their way through the streets.They are definately part of the "Keep Austin Weird" scene!
After a brief rest at our hotel, we took the shuttle for the Auditorium Shores outdoor show. This is a huge venue, again free, which showcased the Bodines and Cheap Trick. Super fun.

Returned to Salado on Saturday and that evening we attended the fundraiser for the Temple Literacy Council at the Salado Silver Spur Theater. Gary and Jody read from Robert Fulghum's "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten".  They did a superb job and raised over $5000 for the council! Good going Gary and Jody!

After the show, we went back to their place for wine, food and got to know some of their friends.

Other things we enjoyed, sitting on the deck in the sun looking over the creek, playing with Mork the Wonder Dog and Denver, shopping, eating good food and drinking Texas beer and wine, late night talks about the "old days" and watching movies.

We are already making plans for their visit to see us or maybe meet again in New Orleans next year.