There’s a certain mystique about — and perpetuated by — Austin’s signature event, South By Southwest (aka SXSW). With all the emphasis on new technology, up and coming musicians, artists, and films, it portrays itself like it’s a festival that celebrates our society’s collective bright, shiny future. In a lot of ways, that’s what SXSW is. But in a lot more ways, SXSW is really just a ratchet shitshow populated mostly by drunk, out of town randoms who showed up simply to wander around, get fucked up, and try to spot a celebrity because they can’t get in to any of the
living commercials events. Case in point, this video of a fight outside the bar Chupacabra — between some drunk assholes and the bouncers from both Chupacabra and the neighboring bar Peckerhead’s — on Austin’s famous Sixth Street.
This video is, in so many different ways, the essence of SXSW — not the least of which being that it was shot in beautiful high definition. Have you ever seen a better looking fight video? Only at SXSW would a dirty, drunken street brawl with bouncers be filmed professionally. It’s World Star meets Christopher Nolan.
I would be legitimately surprised if more than fifty percent of the people in that video were from Austin. Normally, downtown Austin is one of the safest downtowns in the country. At SXSW, not so much. It’s not like muggings or anything increase, but despite this city’s proclivity for hard drinking, it’s actually rare to see a fight here most of the year. During SXSW, however, it’s basically a nightly occurrence on 6th Street. I half expect to overhear someone saying, “I only came here to do two things, man: kick some ass, and hand out my mix tapes. Looks like I’m almost out of mix tapes.” (So, so many mix tapes at SXSW.)
Between the drunk, out of town idiots starting shit, randoms tripping balls — last year my friends came across a naked dude in the throes of a bad trip sitting spread eagle in the middle of Sixth and slapping his apparently huge dong against the brick street, and the women who are pushing their small kids around in strollers, at midnight, through all of this (these people are despicable and numerous), suffice it to say that there is a large element of SXSW that you do not hear about. It’s not all hot new apps and selfies with Wiz Khalifa.
That isn’t to say that SXSW isn’t incredible. It is. It’s corporate spring break, and if you’re connected or sleazy enough, you won’t pay for a drink for the entirety of it, because open bars are more plentiful than food trucks..