These days, the annual South by Southwest music festival is criticized for becoming overly commercial, and rightly so. Each year brings more exclusive parties and big name artists which in turn generate lines longer than the rides at your favorite amusement park on a beautiful day. To make matters worse, the whole thing has become a giant advertisement for everything from the latest mobile apps to the hip, new, must-have product competing for your attention and wallet. For those who remember what SxSW once was, it would seem that it has lost its luster; the very essence of what made the yearly music festival so popular - discovering fresh new talent.
Year after year, the deep pockets of larger record labels and multi-platinum artists continue to steal the show by drowning out any buzz of a new up and comer. But, if you're able to see past all of the bullshit that SxSW has become, you will find that the true spirit of the famous music festival is still alive and well. In fact, you will find that the most exclusive performances don't require wristbands or waiting in endless lines. You simply have to be in the right place at the right time.
During SxSW, street performances pop up all around the downtown Austin area, and in many cases they're all within a few steps of each other. These artists may have a small show or two booked, so performing in the streets between gigs is a great way to attract more people to their shows. For others, performing in the streets is exactly what they came to do, and they'll do it wherever they can. One thing is for certain, these street performers always attract a crowd, and they disappear just as quickly as they appeared.
So the next time you find yourself in the Live Music Capitol of the world for South by Southwest, pack some tip cash, and find a few street shows to enjoy. You'll discover the art of music brought to you in its most raw form by talented artists who are there to do what they love, for the love.