For thirty years and counting, thousands head to Austin, TX each March for the annual SXSW Festival. Once again, Fine Living Lancaster joined this pilgrimage to act as your eyes and ears at the SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive festivals. What a wonderful, educational, entertaining, and, well, super fun trip it was. Check out our roundup of our best discoveries here.
We have been keeping up with Austin-based lifestyle brand Daisy Natives for a few years now, and TBH, their offerings just keep getting cooler. Owner Sarah Eckett’s designs are expanding with every season. Her “Girls Support Girls” tees are now seemingly ubiquitous, popping up all over our Instagram feeds, in tons of photos from the January Women’s Marches around the country, and barely staying in stock. FLL had the chance to meet Eckett in person at her SXSW pop-up shop and, let us tell you: she completely embodies her brand’s identity as being, “for champagne clinkers, confetti throwers, and the ones who have too many revolutionary ideas keeping them at night.” Check out Daisy Natives’ totally rad tees, hats, mugs, and more at daisynatives.com.
Does your visit to Austin even count if you don’t eat your weight in Voodoo Doughnuts? We definitely don’t think so. This Portland, Oregon-classic now has a location in Austin, for those donut aficionados who can’t quite make it that far west. The decor is quirky and bright; the doughnuts are unique and delicious. We highly recommend the Buttermilk bar doughnut, though you really can’t go wrong with any sweet treat on their menu.
We are still coming down off the high of listening to and learning from so many brilliant people in our week at SXSW. The Interactive portion of the festival provides the opportunity to attend lectures, network with others interested in similar topics, and learn about the newest products, innovations, and ideas emerging in nearly any field. One of our favorite #OnlyAtSXSW moments actually happen four—count it, four— times during the Interactive Festival. Walking around the Austin Convention Center, we stumbled upon brilliant authors—many of whom we had heard speak formally during their scheduled lectures—signing copies of their books. We were able to have some of the most fascinating one-on-one conversations with innovators like Peggy Orenstein (author of Girls & Sex and Cinderella Ate My Daughter), Amani Al-Khatahtbeh (founder of MuslimGirl.com), Heather Cabot and Samantha Parent Walravens (authors of Geek Girl Rising: Inside the Sisterhood Shaking Up Tech), and Kate Parker (the photographer behind Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves). We are still feeling
Band members: Ryan Sloan (vocals/guitar/piano), Mauricio Salazar (guitar), Zach Calidonna (bass), and Chris Luna (drums)
Genre: Alternative Indie Rock
Home state: New Jersey
On their music: “Each song is like its own adventure,” Ryan explains. “The first 30 seconds can be vastly different than the last. We like to take people on an adventure with each song.”
Trips to SXSW so far: Three
Favorite cereal for a late night snack: “Cinnamon Toast Crunch,” Zach says. “The trick is to add a scoop of peanut butter to it. Do you think we could get a sponsorship from Peter Pan or Skippy? That would be great. You can put that in the article.”
On their New Jersey roots: “A lot of what has been coming out of Jersey in the past few years has been pop-punk, and that’s just not exactly us,” Ryan says. “If anything, I think our music sounds like it belongs in Europe. We normally get a super interesting reception, with people asking like, ‘You’re from New Jersey?’”
Good as Hell
The crowd was amped up and dancing from the first set of the night until the last note of the final song rung out at NPR’s SXSW Showcase at Stubb’s BBQ. Though we enjoyed the entire concert, featuring acts like The New Pornographers and Sylvan Esso (who played a killer set of their best known songs and crowd favorites), Minneapolis-based singer and rapper Lizzo rose to the top of FLL’s “Faves” list. We were already huge fans, but her live performance featuring her “all-female crew” was celebratory, riotous, and frankly, in the words of Lizzo’s hit single, “Good as Hell.”
Hometown: Malibu, CA
On her music: “I dabble in a bunch of different genres,” Kylie says. “But, I have pop sensibilities. Like how Taylor Swift’s album, ‘Red’ was half country and half pop. My music is very catchy, accessible lyrically, and guitar-based.”
Trips to SXSW so far: “This is my first time in Austin! I have spent lots of time in Nashville, though, and have to keep reminding myself that I’m not there.”
Favorite shows to binge-watch: The Bachelor (“Along with everyone else,” she laughs.), RuPaul’s Drag Race, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Reign (“Nothing ever happens, but it’s so pretty to watch,” she chuckles again. “Good music, good clothes – I’m in.”
Musical influences: Elle King, Kacey Musgraves (“A well written song can be done in any style,” she explains.)
Stay tuned for more stories from SXSW!