If you didn’t already know, Section 101 is one of the founders of an event that takes place during SXSW, the Southwest Invasion. We celebrated our FIFTH anniversary this year, and, wow, what an incredible time!
Each year the Southwest Invasion is held on the Whole Foods Austin rooftop as well as the courtyard downstairs; this year we had three full days of programming, keeping true to our commitment to music and brand collaboration, discovery and re-discovery.
The outdoor space was packed from when the performances began in the late morning until the last note of music. This is a free, all-ages event, and there were a lot of families present along with the SXSW attendees. Word of mouth really fuels attendance, and after five years, it seems that we are very much in demand! Along with the concert, SWI hosts a lifestyle village of socially responsible brands. We had the Clif Bar Listening Lounge, which provided snacks, comfy couches and space to charge your devices (as well as a tractor-tricycle for kids to ride around on), The Mocktail Bar serving incredible tasting non-alcoholic drinks to concert-goers, Zico Coconut Water, 100 Organic Fair Trade coconut water, keeping people hydrated, Dogfish Head Brewery’s Throwback Listening Booth, replete with turntables and a selection of vinyl featuring Southwest Invasion artists, the Fiverr Lounge, decorated with caricatures of all Southwest Invasion performers sourced via Fiverr’s talent pool, the Roland Jam Room, which gave Southwest Invasion performers the opportunity to test the company’s latest products and jam onsite, and many other terrific sponsors. Roland produced a terrific piece on the Southwest Invasion experience that really captures our essence. Watch it here .
Of course, what makes the Southwest Invasion tick is the music. This year showcased one of our most eclectic bills, focused on discovery and re-discovery. All the performances were incredible – and although I can’t go through each and every act – there are a few stand outs: Gingger Shankar, who is one of two people in the world (and the only woman) who can play double violin; Lucky Chops brass band, playing covers of popular songs while jumping around carrying very heavy brass instruments; major pop/rock act Third Eye Blind who had the whole crowd on their feet; and message driven hip-hop artist Talib Kweli who lit up the stage with his pure magic.
We had so many moments of “WOW,” that not only did we turn our audience on to new music, but also judging from tweets, we turned Southwest Invasion artists and bands on to other Southwest Invasion artists and bands!! It was such a magical three days of breakthroughs and collaboration, which also ties in to a very important partner, the Whole Planet Foundation, which supports microcredits around the world. Audience members were able to buy some of the Southwest Invasion posters that Fiverr sourced, and all the money raised went directly to Whole Planet.
So I worked too hard, stayed up too late and maybe didn’t eat as well as I should have, but I wouldn’t change one minute of it. From exposing an entire rooftop of festival-goers to exciting new music, goods and services, there is literally no place I’d rather be the third week of March each year.
Southwest Invasion photos from Top to Bottom - Stolar with custom portrait sourced by Fiverr, The Heirs in the Roland Lounge, Talib Kweli performing, Gingger Shankar performing, Third Eye Blind performing, Clif Lounge