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South By South Text

How text messaging saved my life at this year's South by Southwest music conference.

Peter Gavin

A few years ago we may have asked, "How did we ever live without cell phones?" Now we ask the same question about text messaging. It was indeed a lifesaver last week at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas. With live music ringing throughout the city 24/7, it was hard to find a quiet spot to make a phone call. So, along with thousands of others, I found myself obsessively texting to stay in touch with my cohorts about great shows (and to find ways to escape the bad ones). Cryptic messages such as "Holy F*ck playing Beauty Bar at 11" were not uncommon.

For some conference-goers, however, text messaging is old news. During the interactive portion of SXSW, there was a buzz around Twitter: the new phenomena best described as "microblogging." With 60,000 users, including presidential candidate John Edwards, it's the latest networking tool for posting one-liners on your whereabouts. You can use Twitter via IM, the Web, or your cell phone.

Rob Crow, master of Beard Rock James Martin

So, did all this texting lead to any good music? Most definitely. However, it also led to sore feet (sometimes it's best just to stay put). Performances by Rob Crow, Peaches, Land of Talk, Ra Ra Riot, Andrew Bird and Datarock were my personal faves. I also had the opportunity to host a live video performance/interview with Nicole Atkins (thank you I'm putting together a Best of SXSW feature for Music. In the meantime, check out SXSW playlists, videos, and blogs. Oh, and visit my SXSW photo gallery on Webshots.