Free SXSW concerts start; Dave Grohl gives keynote


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT McKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 14 at 6:21 PM

AUSTIN -- It seems everywhere you go music can be heard all over Austin as thousands of musicians, fans and industry insiders converge for South by Southwest.

"This is the most amazing festival I've ever been to," said SXSW first-timer Stephanie Cold.

Things kicked into high gear on Thursday.

"It is without a doubt, in my musical life, my greatest honor to be asked to share with you what I know about music," Dave Grohl said.

Grohl, the Nirvana drummer and frontman of the Foo Fighters, delivered the keynote address for the festival. He started by comically comparing his musical journey to his birth.

"Hanging upside down, covered in blood, screaming as I'm being spanked by a complete stranger, perhaps the most appropriate preparation for becoming a working musician,” he said to a laughing crowd.

Grohl, who got into his first band at 17, also talked about his first musical inspiration, Edgar Winter's “Frankenstein.”

"It was this record that changed my life," he said.

On the other side of downtown, crews put the finishing touches on the free concert stage at Auditorium Shore and vendors got ready for the crowds.

"We started yesterday. I think I got here about 9:00 in the morning,” said Robert Neutze, manager of Texas Concessions. “It's very well worth it. I enjoy coming and doing these things for the people."

This year there will be something new at Auditorium Shores: The Market. It’s an area set up for vendors to sell artwork and fashion pieces.

Among the stores is the South Austin Gallery.

"I think people look for these now; art shows at music venues,” said South Austin Gallery Owner Joseph Worth. “People want a piece of Austin when they come."

The SXSW Market is also attracting vendors from all over the country.

“We are from Savannah, Georgia. Never been to Austin, never been to Texas,” said Cross Culture Creations Owner Alex Zinn. “I'm looking forward to it."

Looking forward to being a part of what has become a SXSW favorite; the free concert where locals become legends and big names give back to their fans.

The free concerts run through Saturday.

Festival organizers are asking guests not to bring:

  • Food
  • Drinks or coolers
  • Pets
  • Glass containers
  • Beach umbrellas
  • Tents
  • Weapons

Personal umbrellas are permitted.

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