Well it's that time of year again in Austin, Texas where over 2000 bands will take to a little over 100 bar stages and perform at (SXSW) South by Southwest. I'm pretty excited about shooting it as this will be my first time shooting it for SXSW. I shot it last year for unreal360.com & this year I thought that it would be so awesome and cool to get on the SXSW team and experience it fully by earning a music badge by volunteering 5 shifts primarily shooting music showcases. I’m a huge music fan, and love discovering new cool bands… So I applied back in January of this year and on the 25th of January I was notified that I was in! I recall shooting it last year and it was an amazing experience. I was assigned to Maggie May’s for unreal360.com. It was the only place that I shot at but there were some amazing bands that came though there. At Maggie May’s there are 3 stages. I was covering the downstairs and upstairs stage. I was shooting the band downstairs then going upstairs to shoot the band that was playing upstairs! I was up and down the stairs all night! Sets were kept to 20 minutes. So by the time that a band was wrapping up downstairs another set was going on upstairs! I did this 4 nights in a row, I got there about 7pm and left around 2am. I was totally wiped out on the 4th day. Not sure how I did it. One of the coolest moments is when OMD took to the stage. If you were around in the 80s then you might remember them. I didn’t even recognize them until “Electricity” came on. Wow! I was right in front in the photographer pit. I snapped this image of them performing which made it all worth it. People were really digging the show and they managed to play a few hits. They tried to stay and play more but they made them quit. Everyone was like awww that sucks but hey the show must go on, sorry OMD fans!
Ok, so enough talk about last year. Yesterday we had a meeting with all of the SXSW photography team, well over 170 people talking about shooting and general survival tips for the festival. Many people shared tips from shooting it in previous years and discussed best practices. I was there soaking up the information and taking as many notes as possible. I’ve got both a cheat sheet and survival guide for this year. I’m feeling good about my chances for survival, LOL. One good tip and one that I’ll use for sure is riding my bike. Chances are that I’ll have to park at least 2 miles from where I need to be. I have to find parking and ride my mountain bike to my destination. I’ve been told that they try and keep their photogs at the same venue for the entire shift, cool. Last year I didn’t ride a bike, this year I definitely will. So I’m eagerly awaiting my assignments. Soon I’ll get my venues and list of what artists that I need to shoot. SXSW 2012! BRING IT!
p.s. If you want to see my shots from last year's SXSW go here