Ng: South by Southwest proves life-changing but exhausting experience

3/12 — DAY 3: SXSW provides concert to end all concerts

Margaret Lin | Photo Editor

I waited more than six hours in line for the Jay Z and Kanye West show on Wednesday.

AUSTIN, TEXAS — I woke up today knowing I’d be throwing every plan I had originally made away. I wouldn’t be checking out any cool local bands, or trying out anything new. I had one goal in mind for the next 24 hours, and it was to see Kanye West and Jay-Z live.

The doors opened at 9 p.m., and I knew I had to get there early – thank you Day 1 and 2 for teaching me that – if I wanted to get in. I just didn’t know how much earlier. So at 4 p.m., I went by the Austin Music Hall to see what the scene looked like.

Even though it was five hours before the show started, there was already a line going down half of the block. I forgot about getting food, using the bathroom or getting my phone charged, and joined the line right then and there.

Margaret Lin | Photo Editor

The entry for Austin Music Hall, where the concert would be.

Waiting six to seven hours to get inside the venue and for the show to start was probably one of the most enduring tasks I’ve experienced this entire week.

I don’t know what it is about big name concerts, but it turns decent people into some incredibly inconsiderate folks. Here are a few of the types I encountered on the queue from Hell:

Margaret Lin | Photo Editor

A large crowd already formed on the line by 6 p.m., four hours before the venue would open its doors.

• Shout outs to the group of 20 that decided to cut in front of me because “my friend was here waiting for me.” That’s cool if it’s one or two people, but don’t have a family reunion on the line and think it’s OK, people.

• To the group behind me that kept arguing with the line-cutter’s family reunion: Thank you, but f**k you for cutting in front of me 20 minutes after. I thought we were in this fight together.

• Speaking of fight, at least three almost broke out once we were inside the venue waiting for Jay-Z and Kanye West to get on stage.

• I stood behind one of the fights that almost broke out after listening to 20 minutes of a passive-aggressive argument. It felt like they were both trying to get the rest of the crowd on their side, but all I could really think was, “I came here to see Kanye West and Jay-Z. I am a fan of hip-hop music, specifically, theirs.”

Maybe it was something in the air, maybe it was “Watch the Throne” mania, maybe it’s a South by Southwest thing, but people were getting really crazy for this concert.

The craziest thing I did this whole time was decide to show up five hours early, which apparently, 100-200 crazier people already did.

The wait was one of the worst displays of human behavior I had ever seen, and it almost didn’t seem worthwhile to be there. But then the lights shut off, and Kanye West and Jay-Z rose out of individual cubes on each side of the music hall.

Margaret Lin | Photo Editor

Jay Z and Kanye West started the show, playing together for the first time since 2012.

Through all the bulls**t of waiting for the two rappers, it all seemed worth it to yell “Brooklyn ‘Til I Die” with Hova and Yeezus.

Margaret Lin | Photo Editor

Kanye West performing “Runaway” from his fifth album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

I walked out of that concert a different person. Besides the fact that I was completely exhausted and still in disbelief that I had seen my two favorite rappers live, I came to the realization that this would ruin concerts for me forever.

No concert I go to will ever compare to this show. 2 Chainz and Zedd? A$AP Ferg? Nice try, University Union, but I’m not going. I’ve watched the throne and that s**t’s cray.

3/13 – Day 4: SXSW provides quick burnout for both funds, energy

The day after seeing Kanye West and Jay Z live, I slept in until about 1 p.m. It was the only way to recover from something of that caliber. The interactive week of SXSW was finished, which meant so was my press pass, otherwise known as my golden ticket to get into all the cool events.

I should’ve been upset with being unable to check out anything else, but I already felt I had closure. Even though I was in Austin, Texas, for another 24 hours, I felt I didn’t need to do anything else — I’d done everything I wanted to do.

This goes back to Kanye West and Jay-Z ruining concerts for me — I just didn’t want to see anyone anymore. I felt accomplished. So I finally found time to just sit back and relax, and enjoy Austin as a city.

For the first time in this entire trip, I didn’t stand on a line all day. I checked out a lot of local Austin businesses, which made me realize just how corporate the entire event was.

The Lady Gaga concert sponsored by Doritos, the Jay-Z and Kanye West show sponsored by Samsung, the Coldplay show in the iTunes Festival and a quarter of the block dedicated to Subway, among others, showed me that SXSW was almost essentially a two-week long commercial.

I no longer had a press badge, so I had to go around and check out what the city of Austin, not the commercial of SXSW, had to offer. I wish during this trip I had seen more of the authentic Austin.

Instead of being cooped up at the Austin Convention Center or stuck on a line, I explored parts of Austin like Sixth Street, which feels like a never-ending party. There are droves of people, with street performers on every corner, street food vendors and at least three bars on every block. Imagine Mayfest on steroids for two weeks straight, and you get Sixth Street in downtown Austin during SXSW.

Margaret Lin | Photo Editor

A man standing on top of a moving mechanical bull on Sixth Street.

After all this, I came to the realization I was ready to leave SXSW. Four days of this was enough — I just wanted to sleep in my own bed again. I arrived in Austin tired, hungry and mentally defeated. I’ll be going home the exact same way. SXSW is amazing, but a person can only eat from food trucks and go to concerts every single day for so long before he or she needs rest.

SXSW is a great experience, and everyone should do it at least once in their life. Just be prepared to lose a lot of money, time and, if you’re me, interest in any other concerts ever again.


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