A sign of the times. Taken last year. Parking for a month? A week?
Naw, that was the rate for the day.... welcome to New Austin.
In about three days the onslaught will begin. Hordes of pale skinned people with tight legged pants will descend upon the city, finding and taking every parking space within a sixty mile radius. All 200,000 temporary visitors will walk around downtown and all will have smartphones pressed against an ear or held just in front of them as they stroll, oblivious to traffic lights, "walk" signs, other pedestrians and multi-ton chariots of steel barreling down upon them.
I will be on a busy street corner hawking elevator passes, helicopter transport coupons, maps to the downtown houses of famous rock musicians and, of course, translation "cheat sheets" for those who do not speak Texan.
Restaurants will languish as most of the attendees live on endless coffee until mid-afternoon, replaced by beer and more beer around prevning (pre-evening). Rounded out by donuts and breakfast tacos. And swag food at the parties for the platinum pass holders.
I very much recommend photographers in the area head downtown to document this gathering. It's the documentary equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. Just walk out into the middle of Sixth St., spin around in a circle and keep the shutter button pressed down. The difference between a good SXSW photographer and all the rest? The quality of the captions.
I actually do think it's all fun. I just feel sorry for people such as my wife whose advertising agency is located in one of the downtown high-rises. For about ten days in a row getting downtown and into one's parking garage is akin to one of the labors of Hercules. Messy work.
One real benefit of the gathering is that it provides much work for many of my friends in the video field. There's always a new batch of up-and-coming start-up companies hungry to have their events shot on video. Let's give those Sonys and Canons a workout.
And they all come with nice little labels on lanyards.