How the SXSW was Won!

travis mccoy gym class heroes SXSW

Tai with Gym Class Heroes vocalist Travis McCoy

South By South West is an event that I have always been interested in attending. Every year since 2007, I've drooled over the band lineup, wishing I had the opportunity to go to the festival. Not only to experience the good music, wonderful vibes, and have the chance to meet many different people, but to be behind the scenes as well, networking along the way. Thursday, March 18, I rose with a start. Excitedly, I grabbed my bags, put on my SXSW badges and strolled down the stairs of my apartment to meet the limo which was arranged to take me to Austin. Of course, the limo came in the form of a old black Cobalt and my leg room was confined to the back of the driver s seat, but nonetheless, I was finally on my way. 2010 was definitely my year.

The Aloft Hotel in which I was staying happened to be hosting a Warner Brothers party the first night, which Halo and I decided to cover as our first project. After meeting the artists, promoters, photographers, and everyone else in the know, my purse was almost overflowing with business cards and demos. Networking with these people had given me a rush I'd never felt before, a high that I needed to chase. I spent the rest of the night exploring different clubs and venues and making conversation with amazingly talented street performers. I was falling in love with Austin already.

Every night continued as the first, except I was quickly making a name for myself. The more people I networked with, the more I was able to see my career advancing. As I interviewed various artists, producers, and musicians, the most interesting band I met was Sherlock s Daughter. An indie alternative band from Australia, these wonderful people had an undeniable charm that pulled me in from the start. After conducting an interview with them, we sat down to have lunch and a couple of drinks at the Moonshine Bar & Grill, a sweet little place right on 3rd and Red River. While dining, laughing, and making music using our spoons and glasses, Halo and I also had the opportunity of chatting with Sum 41's Deryck Whibley and bumping into Travis McCoy, vocalist for Gym Class Heroes, a few minutes later. Jen Maler, an amazing freelance photographer, gave me the motivation I needed in order to really get in the South By spirit, giving me advice along the way in order to up my networking skills. Believe me; it worked. By using her advice, I somehow managed to end my night at Mohawk, perched on a neighboring roof watching The Black Keys and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth perform to a screaming crowd of fellow fans. A SXSW highlight? Definitely.

South By Southwest had turned into everything I thought it would be with room to spare. Leaving Austin was hard. Even saying goodbye to the hotel's housekeepers, I felt like I was saying farewell to a good friend. Coming back into Dallas and settling down with my laptop, I began the process of following up with everyone I met and  I still have to empty out the rest of my purse.

written by Tai Carpenter

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