ANBAD is still recuperating from a few weeks of madness working at the brilliant Hype Hotel in Austin, Texas for SXSW.
Below is an article that was written in small nibbles in between the delirious hours of work and snatched morsels of sleep. The contents may not be true in the cold light of day, but it’s (almost) worth preserving for posterity (or a reminder of what happens when sleep becomes a disposable luxury).
ANBAD’s Guide to Recreating SXSW in the Comfort of Your Own Home
Whilst experiencing SXSW’s dubious and multifrious charms at the actually fabulous Hype Hotel, it became clear that not all experiences in town were as soul-nourishing as those found at my place of work.
Attending SXSW is both exhilarating and fun, but mainly, it’s expensive and arduous: if you can afford to get there, you probably can’t afford to sleep there, leaving your only real refuge in the heavily-branded bars that will give you a free beer in exchange for your email address/twitter name/another sliver of your soul.
Obviously, you don’t go to SXSW with the same expectations as when attending the V Festival, but still, the image sold – in the UK at least – of the World Capitol Of New Music is a little different to reality.
So, in the spirit of sharing and free-thinking – as enabled by the generous sponsorship of the world’s multi-national corporations at the world’s premier musical festival/schmooze-fest – here’s ANBAD’s guide to creating your very own SXSW on a fraction of the budget, in the comfort of your own home:
- Your first job is to maximise the branding potential of each area of your home. Don’t worry about the relevance of the sponsor you attach – feel free to bolt a Castrol GTX logo onto your toilet (theme bar) and McDonalds’ golden arches above your TV (your audio-visual VJ arena). Hire people to who have no qualms in ‘pushing’ the merits of your brand’s ‘outreach programme’ to disinterested drunks who are feigning indifference just long enough to get free corn dogs or drink tokens.
- Wristwear: you must of course wrap a bewildering array of too-tight plastic bands around both wrists, allowing you entry to the various ‘parties’ (rooms in your house). The truly committed party-goers can be identified by their distended purple digits, as circulation to the hands is slowly strangled by each additional band.
- Make sure that when shopping for food, your add at least two painful ‘SXSW Dollars’ to the price, and hunker down in your nearest litter-strewn gutter to eat it. For added authenticity, encourage gap-toothed homeless people to noisily harangue you for leftovers before you’ve even taken your first bite.
- Smugly book a series of marginally obscure, unsmiling bands whose mere existence allow you the opportunity to trick you and your guests into thinking they are new discoveries; when in fact they have watertight six-record deals and lawyers who provide 12-page contract riders demanding vegan hummous as a matter of course.
- Make sure at least half of the bands dress like mentally deficient children who have spent their lifetime locked inside their grandparent’s wardrobe, and can see no reason for the sniggering that follows them around.
- Take care to see that the bands have an understandable lack of enthusiasm: after all, their job is to write songs every now and again, play a few 25-minute sets and then soak up the resulting undeserved adulation.
- Hook their instruments up to a soundsystem staffed by overworked and cynical sound techs: people who, having spent years teasing a clear, professional sound from the stage, are instantly undermined by bands’ insistence that they drown all the instruments, drums and vocals with ‘as much reverb as possible’.
- For the truest SXSW experience, arrange for 500 people to stand in a long, immobile line in front of your front door under the beating sun. Allow your already-agonising progress to be halted by a drunken, indignant trustafarian at the head of the queue who insists he knows one of the bands and was promised he could totally come in without a wristband, yeah?
- Finally, and most crucially, never refer to the festival as “South by South West”. It is “South By”. No exceptions. If you are writing an email, “SX” is always simpler and preferable to the long-winded “SXSW”.
“This is like Glastonbury for self-interested hipsters like me!”
“This is like Glastonbury (Sponsored by Mtn. Dew’s Green Label) for self-interested hipsters like me!”