As great as SXSW is every year, there are a few annoyances and disappointments that can salt your experience and almost push you to the edge. There are also a lot of things that are hyped up to be “ZOMG! TOTALLY AWESOME” and end up simply falling short of expectations. Here are the top 6 overly buzzed and disappointing things about the 2013 SXSW experience:
The Indian Food Truck
You’re going to be hungry. That’s just science. And you’re going to look around at all the food trucks and be like, sure I could have another taco, which is guaranteed deliciousness, or I could try and shake things up. My friends swore The Indian Food Truck was the best. Well I’m here to tell you that it is a lie. Indian Food in hot weather is never a good idea…you may think you’re safe at first, but an hour or so later after your meal, you won’t be as happy. Also Indian Food Truck food is often bland and not heated all the way through. Just trust me and know that this is one of the most overly buzzed things at SXSW.
Rumors are a big part of the SXSW experience and often they turn out to be true. This year, the Justin Timberlake, Prince and Fall Out Boy rumors all came true. But with every true rumor there are also false ones. I heard tales of Bruno Mars putting in surprise sets, word of bands that were clearly on tour in Europe and then the most tenacious rumor was that Daft Punk was playing at a house party…or maybe the Capitol Building. The house party was obviously a joke, playing on some LCD Soundsystem lyrics. But the rest of the Daft Punk rumors persisted throughout the week abetted by a very generic poster of the Daft Punk helmets and a Twitter account that launched that week. Daft Punk did not appear at SXSW and I’m sure that there were many people who ended up missing out on countless wonderful performances while sitting on the Capitol steps, waiting for something that was never to be. I’m also sure that Daft Punk was just sitting at home and reading Twitter, laughing at all the silly people spreading rumors about SXSW.
Boo, pedicabs, boo! At first you seem so cool — with your willingness to save my feet by offering a ride, but then I turn you down in favor of saving money and just walking. Next thing I know, you’re breaking road rules to run me over and nearly causing a 6-car pile up as you illegally cut in front of traffic. Seriously disappointing. Pedicabs are a neat idea and I would be more than willing to support them if so many of the Austin pedicab drivers weren’t flipping a big finger at road rules and etiquette. More often than not, these bike carts were the most dangerous things at SXSW.
Call me an old scrooge, but as much as people tell you “6th Street is the place to be!” for SXSW, I’ll happily stick to the side streets. It isn’t so bad during the weekends, but by the weekend, it is flooded by obnoxious fools that can’t hold their liquor. To avoid the chaos of the crowd, if I have to catch a band at a 6th Street bar, I’ll walk up a side street as long as possible before entering this frenzy. It’s just not worth the walk to risk stepping in puke and getting beer stains. Sorry 6th street, I’d say it’s not you, it’s me, but it is definitely you.
No Photos of Prince
Ok, I kind of get this, but I also found it really disappointing that Prince would not allow photos of his performance. On the one hand, it is nice to just experience something without a bajillion mobile devices waving around taking shitty photos and blocking your view of an act. When it comes to photos, I usually follow the get the shot and get out plan. Once I have my shot, my camera goes bye bye and I just enjoy the performance. Unfortunately, not everyone does this, so it resulted in the extreme “no photos” ban. Not only were cameras not allowed in the venue, but we received not one, not two, but at least three warnings not to try and take cell phones shots at risk of removal from the venue. That’s a little extreme and yes, people were kicked out for breaking this rule. Come on, Prince. Lighten up. You’re fabulous, so of course people want photos of you! Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I got to see Prince, but again, I’m also a little disappointed that I don’t have photos to commemorate that special experience.
Finally, the most disappointing thing about SXSW are lines; and to add to line complication this year were lottery systems. Lines suck and they’re inevitable. But this year, there weren’t just lines to get into shows, there were lines to get access to be in those lines to get in those shows. Did you win tickets to see Prince or Justin Timberlake? Congrats! You earned a 3-hour wait in a line 10 blocks away just to pick up your tickets! You’re welcome! Oh, and if you were an uber fan of a band, waiting in line for 3 days won’t necessarily get you in to see your beloved Sound City Players. These industry people who don’t entirely know who they are got lucky and won passes, so they get to go in before the venue will even consider opening the door for you. I think that was the most disappointing thing about the lines — if you were willing to do the time, it didn’t necessarily work out for you. Those darn lottery passes went to people who just wanted to be at the ‘it’ event, even if they couldn’t tell you a single Green Day song. Lame. So yeah, I get it, lines suck and they’re likely not going away, but maybe we can do something about the annoying combinations of line letdowns due to the lottery.
Did you find something else to be the most overly buzzed or disappointing thing at SXSW this year? Sound off in the comments!