Izzy Strange goes to SXSW 2018 (For The Very First Time)
After a 22 hour drive, I finally arrived to SXSW. For it being my first experience, I would chalk it up as a success. As well as a little overwhelming. We pulled in about a mile from our destination to a giant cluster fuck of a traffic jam. The GPS told us there would be around a 25 minute wait. There were people everywhere and roads were blocked off for the festival. After about 20 minutes for traffic and an additional 15 minutes looking for parking, we finally get out the vehicle to explore the surroundings.
There’s music of all genres coming from every direction. People walking up and down the streets. Artists passing out their cards and information. For artists that handed us a card, we hand one back. It felt like a place I truly belonged. You were either there to hustle or enjoy the scene. We started making our way to the venue where I was going to perform. I could already hear the DJ warming up and people were starting to gather. The first person I met was the sound engineer. He greeted us enthusiastically and proceeded to tell us the show was gonna start in about an hour. So since we had some time to kill, we hit the streets for a little promo run of our own.
We started handing out cards and flyers to anyone we could see. I saw someone had printed up a bunch of fake $100 bills with their face and music information on them. I thought that was incredible promo. Of course, they got me. I just seen it laying there on the ground and had to pick it up. It was genius. An idea I might have to implement myself in the future. Call it Strange Bucks…. or something like that.
We get back to the venue and the shows about to start. I was set first to perform. And if I’m being honest, I was nervous. It was my first time at SXSW and my first time performing in Texas in general. The host asks my name, and then steps to the mic. “Everyone give a warm welcome to an artist who drove all the way from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!”. “Give it up for Izzy Strange!”.
I started getting into my first song, everything was going good. Then about half way through the song, I just totally blanked out with my lyrics. Luckily I’m no stranger to free-styling and was able to pick up without missing a beat. Of course, no one there probably even noticed I fucked up. It’s not like they were singing along with the song. After that, I felt good. The anxiousness left, and the performance went out without a hitch. I said my peace, and walked off the stage.
The DJ was there first to give me props, he seemed kinda cold before my set started, even looking at me as if he expected I was going to suck or something. That changed afterwards, so I felt good about that. Then one by one, more people started coming up to me either in utter shock that I drove all the way from PA or just coming up to me show love. It felt good. If the opportunity arises next year, you will definitely be able to catch me at SXSW 2019. This time I’m not fucking driving though.!