|Hans, Lisa, Lila and Ashley atop Mount Bonnell.|
Next we drove a short distance to Mayfield Park, a lovely little oasis in the city. There are a couple of miles of trails plus the pretty grounds to explore...and peacocks!
|Hans looks up to find a couple of peacocks overhead.|
We saw about a dozen male peacocks hanging around in the trees and on the rooftops.
|The redbuds are providing brilliant color all over town right now.|
|This little guy was only about 4 inches long.|
|So bright they look fake!|
As I mentioned in a previous post, SXSW seems to explode across the core of the city for 10 days. Thousands of people are walking the city streets and every block offers up dozens of options for music and food. Some are official SXSW events where a very expensive badge is required for access, some are "unofficial" events and are open to the public and free. Depending on the popularity of the musical acts, there may or may not be a line or a crowd.
One fine day we made our way to the E. 7th St. corridor to see some free live music. We'd learned that staying East of interstate 35 usually meant fewer crowds and you might only have to park a few blocks from your venue of choice. We were headed for Hotel Vegas, a popular venue for live music with a large outdoor patio and stage. Arriving early, around 1pm, we got right in, met up with a friend, and enjoyed several hours of music. By the time we left the venue about 5pm, it was packed and had a long line...timing is everything during SXSW!
|We're standing right in front of all girl surf band, La Luz, at Hotel Vegas.|
What you can't see in this shot is how very crowded the venue had become...
|This is how packed Hotel Vegas can get as the afternoon wears on!|
Way back in 1980 in Albuquerque, Hans met Ryan through music...flash forward to the present and Ryan lives in Austin and plays bass in a band, the Barebones Orchestra. One evening they played a benefit gig for The Center for Music Therapy, where we enjoyed both Barebones and other musicians related to the Therapy Center, including the very talented Emily Morris.
Another day we parked on the East side of interstate 35 and walked over to the crazy West side to attend two free events at the convention center: the Flat Stock show and the Gear Show. Flat Stock consists of band posters and there was some incredible art on display and for sale. This would be a neat place to buy art if we had a home to put it in!
The Gear Show consists of all the latest goodies for musicians. Walking the aisles we were thrilled to see the Center for Music Therapy's booth. We spent a few minutes chatting with the Center's founder and president, Hope Young, about music therapy. Through music, therapists are able to help people of all ages (infant through geriatric) with cognitive, emotional and physical issues. From our two encounters with the Center's staff we could see how much they love their work and we have a new appreciation for the power of music.
|Hope Young, Center for Music Therapy.|
|Hans had fun trying out various guitar effects.|
|Guitars made out of oil cans!|
Figuring out what to see at SXSW can be overwhelming. There are literally hundreds of bands playing at possibly hundreds of venues, all day, every day! Hans, being the music guy in our house, has spent hours researching what we want to attempt to see. He came across a band we knew of from Los Angeles, The Two Tens, who happened to be playing a couple of gigs during SXSW. We caught them at their "unofficial" gig, an afternoon show at the Lost Well, a dive bar on the East side, where parking was easy and we even got a free beer!
|The Two Tens rocking the house.|
SXSW is an event unlike any we've seen before. It is enormous and really kind of overwhelming! But if you do your research and go with the flow it can be a lot of fun. We're glad we are staying outside of town and have learned the simplest and least congested ways to get to the heart of the city...we can get in and out of the craziness pretty easily and return to our quiet little cocoon on wheels when we've had enough. We've noticed that the sound systems at every venue are set up to be extremely loud so ear plugs are a must.
We are due for some nature and good long hikes...if the rain ever stops. Yes, it's raining again!