This year, rather than opt for my traditional Festival Diaries format for SXSW, I went for a more straight forward approach, with a series of reviews on ground at the event. But there was the odd experience that I couldn't quite elaborate into its own article. So here now are all the leftovers of my experiences over ten days at SXSW 2013 in a Festival Diary special!
Having had a fair dose of laughter thanks to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival travelling roadshow, I headed to Shroom in New Delhi for the Second Aussie BBQ, which was part of a very jam packed final two days of my time in India. The show, in the futuristic surrounds of the venue - where we were introduced to the ‘upmarket’ side of Indian lifestyle - went very well by all indications. Especially considering this was the first time rock bands had performed in the dance oriented venue.
For our second Aussie BBQ show, the four remaining bands – Jinja Safari, The Aston Shuffle, Big Scary and Sheppard – along with myself and the BBQ crew headed onto Delhi. Flying with IndiGO airways, we got off to a shaky start with us, collectively, sitting 130 kilos over the limit in terms of baggage. This resulted in a fairly lengthy procedure to get the some 30 members of the travelling circus onto the plane - especially given we were running reasonably late to the airport to begin with. Thankfully, we all made it on and it was a comfortable flight to Delhi and our first stop in the city: SoundSchool.
With the first of the Aussie BBQs behind us, and Karnivool on their way back to Australia, we were all treated to a day off in Mumbai before we headed to Delhi for the second show. Having spent most of our time in a bit of a glass bubble - taken from one event to the next with a chauffeur, lounging in five star accommodation - for our day off we opted to move outside of our comfort zone and experience some day-to-day life in Mumbai, mayhem and all. For this adventure I joined a few members of Jinja Safari and their manager and headed from the hotel to the more touristy areas; the Gateway of India, the Taj Mahal Hotel, street markets and all that fun stuff...
Having completed the business end of proceedings, it was now time to return to the focus of our trip to India: The Aussie BBQs. Having had all five bands play at the NH7 Weekender in Pune, our travelling circus was now in Mumbai, where the first of three Aussie BBQs was taking place following the second day of events at the Nokia Music Matters conference, at the city's Hard Rock Café.
With the festival under our belts, we were now looking forward to the three standalone Aussie BBQ shows that would take us around the country. The first, in Mumbai, served as an official after-party of sorts for the Nokia Music Connects Conference held nearby; a two day event that looked at the business of music, and India's place in it all.
This morning was a strange one. After a Hurricane, a journey to India that seemed to go on for days and a first day more epic than most, last night was my first in a proper bed in a good week. With the very fact I was in India still failing to sink in, it was a good ten minutes after waking up before I realised where I was, why I was here and possibly even who I was. Putting it simply: it was hard to believe this was only my second day in India.
After some 15 hours at JFK, I was lucky enough to make it on board the lone flight to Mumbai via Abu Dhabi with Etihad, thanks much in part to the GM of Airline Operations, who I have to thank for getting me on board. One piece of advice I have to offer all travellers is that the busier or more manic the airport is, the more people will not show up or miss their flight; always try for a standby ticket, as long as you’re willing to wait you’re probably going to have luck. Thankfully I indeed did and made it to India!
The following was written on November 1st, 2012.
This is one story that begins not with a whimper, but a storm. A ‘Frankenstorm’ as they called it. Appropriate for Halloween, but a pretty fair description, too, of the clusterfuck of a weather pattern that blew through New York on October 29th, destroying houses, taking lives and effectively cancelling Halloween. Though families were advised against Trick or Treating, a few still did, perhaps trying to bring a sense of normalcy back into their lives after a manic 48 hours.
Day Three of CMJ once again presented us with a plethora of fascinating talks and quality live music. Held across a large number of New York City venues, Thursday’s program saw me jumping from the College Day event, to additional panels at NYU Kimmel Centre, then over to Brooklyn for a spectacular and fantastically dynamic showcase for new Sub Pop Records acts.
After being eased into a festival that has a somewhat overwhelming quantity of live music and panels, things steadily picked up for our second day at CMJ. A festival committed to bringing about informative panels for those involved in the music industry and to arranging a huge selection of live shows across New York City, it’s easy to get lost in the intense yet rewarding schedule of CMJ.