This year marked my 9th year actively participating in SXSW. I’ve seen my fair share of panels, heard incredible bands, and attended all kinds of parties…and this year was no exception. Rather than detail the entirety of my experience, I’ll touch on a few highlights.

An obvious highlight for me was Mood’s official SXSW day party at Clive Bar on Tuesday, March 12th. I had a hand in planning the festivities so it was amazing to see it all come together and to watch clients, co-workers, and friends dancing to a stellar line-up of music, including Body Language, Blondfire, AVAN LAVA, and Tomorrow We Move To Hawaii.

Body Language

Another party that I had a great time at was the Paste Magazine party – both their Interactive Lounge and The Stages on Sixth. Last year, I was stationed at Paste for three days gathering interviews with 30+ artists. So many of the artists that played in 2012 are now household names (The Lumineers!) so I knew I could expect quality acts. My favorite had to be The Zombies. They were one of my “must see” bands of the week and it was so incredible to hear songs like “Tell Her No” and “Time of the Season” live.

I’ve loved 50’s and 60’s music my whole life, so I made it a priority to see Eric Burdon (of The Animals) and John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival) as well. Not exactly the “up and comers” I know I’m supposed to seek out during SXSW but how could I not see these legends? Worth it.

Now for a few of my favorite “discoveries” of the week. First up is Wild Belle, a sibling duo that our Music Designers have been raving about and actively programming. I caught their set at Waterloo Records and really enjoyed their tight grooves and Natalie’s unique vocals.

Following Wild Belle’s set was Gold Fields. I was only familiar with a few songs but was captivated by their entire set. They put on a really energetic performance and I LOVE bands that dramatically incorporate multiple drums and other percussion.

Gold Fields

Another band on my “must see” list was Divine Fits. I’ve been listening to their album A Thing Called Divine Fits since it came out and I made it my mission to finally see the band live. Even though their show was at 12AM on a day where my feet had surrendered, I still loved every second of it.

Although I felt like I didn’t see as many bands as I could’ve/should’ve, my Instagram tells a different story (or so my friends say). Despite the fact that I saw dozens of shows, I still missed one of my “must see” bands. That band is Lord Huron and I swear I’ll get tickets the next time they come through town.

Since I had a Platinum Badge, I was able to partake in SXSW Film as well. I saw a few great (and not so great) movies but my favorite would have to be Good Ol’ Freda. It’s a charming tale of Freda Kelly, the Beatles’ trusted secretary from the days before their massive popularity until after the members had gone their separate ways. It’s not a juicy, “tell-all” story but rather a heartfelt glimpse into the life of a girl who lucked into an incredibly cool job but went on to live a quiet, private life. She’s still a secretary and rarely mentions her association with The Beatles. This is the first time she’s told her story. As an avid Beatles fan, I’ve seen a LOT of films about the band. This one sits near the top of the list. I have a feeling it will appear on Netflix soon.

Can’t wait for next year!

– Submitted by Jessica Reed, Social Media