SXSW 2011 Wraps Up Larger
The narrow alleys of bars were congested this Saturday morning with mountains of beer cases. Anthony Childress blocked half of Red River unloading ice at Emo’s.
“They’ll go through probably 20 tons of ice. So yeah, it gets pretty busy,” he said.
There are about 90 music venues hosting SXSW shows and more hosting unofficial bands, like Austin-based Fatback Circus.
“Yeah, it’s a lot of music,” said frontman Nathan Campbell. “It seems like there are just as many unofficial shows as there are official shows.”
That means there more people in addition to the 13,000 or more SXSW badge-holders. Ryan Abernathy waited in long line to get into a free show at Red 7.
“We went and saw ORBS at Dirty Dog’s the other day and we’ve been just going to other shows,” said Ryan Abernathy as he waited in long lime to get into a free show at Red 7. “Get as many free ones as we can.”
But with larger crowds, the competition is stiffer. People hoping to catch free gigs are having to wake up earlier to stand in longer lines. A drag for those in line, but an opportunity for others manning food carts and jewelry stands.
Kristin Honaker and her team used the week to launch their new business product, Chameleon Cold-Brew iced coffee, on a corner in front of Beerland. She said the business has been steady.
“We also got with ice cream man, who is passing out ice cream everywhere, and they’re making ice-coffee floats.”
Honaker said Red Bull has been giving them competition this weekend. The story’s the same all along Red River and Sixth Street. Across from the food cart “Best Wurst,” “Hey Cupcake” and a “Roppolo’s” pizza truck. Sausage eatery owner Jon Notarthomas said he had about 35 people working just two hot dog carts to handle the crowds. He said it feels like there are more people over last two years.
“I know it’s tough to deal sometimes in town – traffic and everything else. But quite frankly, we’re thrilled for it,” Notrathomas said. ” It’s good for business, and I mean like for us, it’s right before tax time so we pay those off and all the guys make a big chunk of money.
SXSW officials estimate that music venues, restaurants and vendors see about a 45 percent increase in revenues from this week.
SXSW has stacked itself this year. Interactive and music started earlier, with more showcases and panels scheduled on the first day. But the festival brings in almost $100 million to the city, so it’s likely that even with the pains of traffic and crowds, Austinites will keep partying, SXSW style.