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2009 SXSW: Day 1

As a music photographer, South By Southwest is a dream come true. I have been wanting to go to Austin, TX for this yearly event for many years, but only just got the chance this year. And it was great. I decided to make this trip a fun getaway with my husband and friends, rather than focusing on shooting non-stop, so I didn’t try for a media pass. Instead, I took pictures where I could, but just soaked in the whole experience without any demands on me. It was nice to sit back and relax.

We set out for SXSW on a Tuesday afternoon with our good friends, Last Fast Action. Good thing we’re friends, because we spent a long time in the van together. From Chicago, Austin is a 20+ hour drive.

A lot of the drive was flat:

2009 SXSW: Day 1

And much of it was spent sleeping, but some of it was spent raving in the back of the van:

2009 SXSW: Day 1

We finally crossed the Texas state line at sunrise, so we had to get out of the van and rejoice that we were finally in Texas. Apparently everything truly is bigger in Texas, because their welcome center had a HUGE star:

2009 SXSW: Day 1

2009 SXSW: Day 1

We had been in the van so long that Dan’s hair was actually straight. I have known Dan for six or seven years, and never have I seen his hair straight (it normally looks like this). We decided that he looked like he belonged in an AP mag:

2009 SXSW: Day 1

After a little nap and a little more driving, we finally made it our hotel room around 3 p.m. We got all of our stuff into the room, and then LFA decided they needed to rehearse for their SX set later in the week. Acoustic hotel session? Awesome!

2009 SXSW: Hotel Rehearsal

2009 SXSW: Hotel Rehearsal

2009 SXSW: Hotel Rehearsal

2009 SXSW: Hotel Rehearsal

After everyone was rehearsed out, we headed to 6th street to check out what this SXSW business was all about:

2009 SXSW: Day 1

2009 SXSW: Day 1
(I love the cobblestone streets!)

2009 SXSW: Day 1

We even saw my friend Leah’s husband’s band hanging out on the street, giving free hugs, which was totally random (check them out – Quiet Company):

2009 SXSW: Day 1

Finally night fell. We had dinner and scoped out a few clubs.  I loved this building.  It reminded me of Chicago:

2009 SXSW: Day 1

We watched some of Mandi Perkins‘ set at Apple Bar. Mandi Perkins was recently signed to Sony and strongly reminded us of the Cranberries. Ultimately the set was okay (but had horrible horrible light as you can see), but were still exhausted from our epic drive, so we went back to the hotel room early.

2009 SXSW: Mandi Perkins

2009 SXSW: Mandi Perkins

Despite not seeing a lot of music that day, it was a great start to SXSW (and we made up for the music thing the next few days, don’t worry!)

More to come from Day 2 soon!

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