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SXSW: An oasis in central Texas

Associate Editor Jasmine France heads to SXSW for the first time and is surprised by what she encounters.


Hmm. Is there something wrong with this picture? Is this really where the foremost music and media extravaganza takes place? Yes, this was the view I was treated to as I cabbed away from the airport in Austin, and as the meter ticked up in a never-ending fashion, I thought surely I had made some grave error and booked a hotel 50 miles away from downtown instead of five. But no, the compact city of Austin rises rather like an oasis in the middle of flat and relatively empty Texan plains. I am a mere five miles away, and yet I could just as well be at some lonely highway outpost in the middle of nowhere America. You can see how this might at first have been a tad disconcerting to someone who comes from an area where the urban sprawl fans out dozens of miles in any direction. No matter. The city of Austin is most appropriately equipped for SXSW, with its central convention center and massive supply of live music venues (every bar has a stage, and 6th Street alone is lined with bar after bar). Indeed, it was chosen for the latter. Shortly, I'll be making my first foray into the convention center and bringing you coverage of the Ultimate Music Recommendation Smackdown. Also on the agenda today: The Truth About Mobile & The Future of Personal Devices (will they all be iPhones?). And be sure to tune in at 5:00 p.m. PST if you want all the details on the new music player I was hinting about.