Photo Recap: SXSW 2018 / by Tess Cagle

This year marked my seventh SXSW—which makes me feel awfully old, despite being just 23. I still remember my first time at the festival. I was 16, I traveled from the Rio Grande Valley with my older brother to Austin for the first time to see the Strokes play at Auditorium Shores. I can visualize perfectly the first time we rounded the corner on I-35, passing the Holly St exit, and catching my first view of the Austin skyline. The weather was idyllic and I got to see my favorite band of all time for free. It's no wonder I moved to Austin just three years later. 

I've had both amazing and devastating times at SXSW. In 2013, I forgot my wallet 5 hours away, at home, and I spent my week at the all-ages Waterloo shows when I wasn't scouring for free samples at Whole Foods because I couldn't afford real meals. That year I also waited for hours outside Stubbs to see Vampire Weekend, only to be turned away when it became a badge-only event. In 2015, I interned for the festival and found my 20 year-old self with a virtually useless Platinum badge and in 2016 I used a music wristband to cover the festival for the first time as a member of the press. Last year, I went totally unofficial and worked for Babes Fest and Sound On Sound Festival. Unsurprisingly, 2017 was the year I had the most fun. 

This year, I covered the fest unofficially for Austin360, the arts + entertainment arm of the Austin American-Statesman. I covered one or two events a day and moderated the publication's Instagram, posting around 25 street-style photos daily. This year I worked the hardest I ever have during the fest, hands-down—and it was amazing. I saw some of my favorites for the fifth or sixth time—like Jeff Rosenstock, White Reaper and Hinds—and some amazing artists for the first time, like Bully, Shamir and Annabelle Chairlegs. I photographed some red carpets for the first time—which was awesome—and even got paid to go on a booze cruise. While next year my goal will be to add more contracted assignments to my week for bands and brands, I am incredibly grateful for Austin360 for keeping me very busy this year. 

I took so many photos that I love that I just couldn't resist putting together a recap of my week (even if it's getting published way too late for it to be SEO-friendly or anything.)