SXSW Musings

South by Southwest used to be a nice, manageable little festival where small acts hoped to get signed by big labels…

Those days are long over, as evidenced by the nearly 200,000 warm bodies swarming every inch of Downtown Austin and beyond for the last 10 days. It’s a giant, international festival that takes place in an urban setting.

While it’s become very fashionable for us native Austinites to scoff at the tourists, the traffic, the throngs of people flowing along the streets day and night, I have to admit that it sort of tickles me to see our little city getting so much love.

As a daily cyclist, I found it hard not to gloat, “What traffic? I parked right out front!” And I realized, on the final festival weekend, as I made my way through the parade of walkers, cyclist, pedicabs, and traffic, that there is something magical about seeing our vehicle-centric city transformed into a pedestrian stronghold for a week.

I sigh a small breath of relief seeing the streets return to normal, but not without a tinge of regret, as I wonder what it would be like if the streets were so heavily trafficked with human bodies and pedal power the rest of the year…

And here’s a sweet little taste of what it was like, for those of you who missed it (next year, hop on the bus, train, or bike, and see for yourself!):


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