A volunteer tried to extort $20 from me.
Arriving at a free day party I'd RSVP'd to and finding 20,000 people who'd done the same, I was pulled aside by the guy monitoring the line, who saw my press badge and offered to let me cut ahead…for a price. He greatly overestimated my desire to see Icona Pop.
Public Enemy played inside a giant Doritos vending machine.
Corporate sponsorship doesn't really bother me—I also witnessed a sublime set by My Morning Jacket's Jim James while buzzed on free shots of Tito's Handmade Vodka and cramming complimentary Taco Bell in my mouth—but even I have my limits, and commodifying one of hip-hop's all-time greatest groups by reducing them to a bag of chips is pretty close to the line.
Some guy ran from backstage after Solange performed and offered to flash his wang "if you show me your tits."
Sure, it's just one ass-hat with VIP access, but that ass-hat is representative of the thousands of other industry ass-hats trying to trade guest-list spots for boob shots.
The Night Owl bus.
Admittedly, it's my fault that I dilly-dallied with finding lodging and ended up having to take the 3 am bus with drunk University of Texas students back to my rented guest room each night, but fighting through a crowd of wasted college kids to get someplace is basically the entire SXSW experience in a nutshell.
Third Eye Blind practically shut down a city street while performing in an outdoor lot…
…in 2013. As I wrote last year, when a zillion people flood the streets to watch a band that hasn't been popular since 1997, you know SXSW has become untenable.
SEE IT: South By Southwest runs March 7-16 in Austin, Texas.