Saturday, March 14, 2015
All roads lead to Austin
It's that time of year again, when craziness descends upon our town. It's called South by Southwest (SXSW). It opened yesterday and lasts till the 22nd. Thousands of people from across the globe come here for this festival. Some of the entertainment are big name bands, others are new young bands hoping to be discovered. Most of the streets downtown are closed off to through traffic. Traffic in general becomes even more of a nightmare than it is on any normal day. Many of the locals have come to really dislike this event. Reason: it has gotten so large it is almost out of control. The preview magazine alone is 59 pages! For this entire time, the city is immersed in SXSW. If you have business downtown, forget it, you won't be able to find a parking place or even get to where you need to go. We try to get anything we need from downtown in the 2 weeks prior to this event. I pity the folks who came here on vacation, not knowing about this. If they want to go see the Capitol, it will be a real challenge to get there.
Now, hubby and I love live music, and the first 10, even 15 years we lived here, we attended every festival and event that was held here. Not so much any more. It is just too congested. And we don't have the energy for it, darn it. We will go downtown on the train and attend a few events that are held at the convention center and some of the small venues. But no big concerts for us, nosiree. Some things are streamed online, so I may catch a few acts that way. This event brings a lot of entertainment into the city, and a HUGE amount of $$$, but more and more it brings a lot of complaints, and a lot of changes. In years past, people who did not want to be here during the event, would rent their houses out. Also, people would rent out a room or two in their houses. Well, no more of that, once the city got wind of it. Seems they were competing with the hotel industry too much. As if it even made a dent...just my opinion. You know those hotels who raise the $250. a night rate to $750. a night and more. Now folks need a permit and have to pay taxes on the money they make. One way around that now, is people who wish to leave the city are doing a house swap with someone who wants to come to the festival. Hubby has a friend who has a condo right downtown. He is swapping for 2 weeks with someone in San Francisco.
Add to this congestion, the Austin Rodeo starts tonight, and the expo center where it is held is just down the road and across the freeway from where we live. So more congestion, traffic wise. The lineup for music is Willie Nelson tonight, Dwight Yoakam tomorrow night, and so on and so on, up through the 28th. Even The Beach Boys are playing one night. We love living in Austin, but sure do wish progress hadn't progressed quite so quickly around us. We are happy that the racetrack is on our side of town though, because that is something we go to. Hubby has Moto GP, motorcycle racing coming up April 11 through 13. He is going to it, not racing in.
Well, that is just a snippet of what goes on around here in my little city. As much as I gripe about the congestion, I really do love having so many choices in entertainment. Even if I don't have the physical stamina to go to much of it anymore.