Updated: Jun 21
2022 brought all the things back that everyone loves about SXSW. Being back in person for the first time since 2020 had everyone anticipating how this year’s SXSW would compare to previous years. This year undoubtedly lived up to the expectations. Here are some of my highlights from SXSW.
This year’s emphasis was NFT blockchain and VR paired with the metaverse. One of the exhibits I attended was the Banksy exhibit. It included some of his work as well as the iconic “Girl With Balloon”. An immersive VR experience allowed participants to “stroll through London'' to experience some of Banksy’s muse. The Doodles interactive exhibit featured some of their NFT doodle-style art. You could create your own NFT, buy doodle merch and get doodle nail art done. It was a pastel-lovers dream come true. Its child-like theme made it feel like you were stepping inside a cartoon.
I attended the Lizzo Amazon Prime Park, and it was like stepping into a Lizzo wonderland. It included Lizzo inspired cocktails, as well as a The Boys-themed burger stand. Lizzo’s “Watch Out for Big Grrrls” merch was given to attendees. Hats, tote bags, and pins that included prime’s “Watch Out for Big Grrrls” stamps. The carnival-like experience featured the Lizzo beauty salon. Attendees could get Lizzo inspired hairstyles and nails.
The Fox NFT lounge was also an interactive event I had the privilege to attend. It featured NFT art that was Fox network themed and people could create their own NFT. You could network and view the NFT video art as you strolled the lounge.
The Trip was an Atlanta FX Amsterdam-inspired cafe. It transformed Higher Grounds, the church-themed bar, and filled it with Atlanta-inspired art installations. It featured Atlanta memorabilia and lucid visual art installations. Art of the cast was displayed and TV installations could be seen as attendees enjoyed free coffee as they strolled the exhibit.
Bodies Bodies Bodies was one of the film premieres I attended. It’s an A24 thriller that is the embodiment of Gen Z culture. This thriller takes an amusing twist to the conventional murder mystery.
Photo: Sabrina Macias
Another premiere I attended was The Cow premiere. Starring Winona Rider, the independent thriller definitely had me on my toes. The suspense and twist had viewers screaming from their seats. The Cow is sure to leave anyone questioning what they just watched.
I had the privilege of seeing Casey Neistat’s Under The Influence documentary. The film follows the rise and fall of famous YouTuber David Dobrick. The documentary provides some great insight into how YouTube culture can become toxic when YouTubers aren’t held accountable.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was highly anticipated at SXSW Cage bobblehead suits were seen throughout the festival. Throughout downtown Austin, there were posters from a Cage super fan asking him to call him.
I had the opportunity to attend a T-Pain performance. He performed some of his infamous early 2000s hip-hop and the crowd did not disappoint. The crowd all cited songs like “Bartender” and “Buy U a Drank" and his feature from "2 Step".
Dolly Parton’s first time at SXSW was this year and I had the chance to see it. Parton opened the show with an interview with James Patterson about their new book Run, Rose, Run where she announced a film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon will be made. Parton certainly brought her southern charm and had crowd goers hearts warmed. Parton filled the stadium with her iconic songs like “Jolene” and “9 to 5”. I left the stadium teary-eyed with Parton’s compassion and music.
One of the main sponsors was White Claw. White Claw was giving out free drinks daily at the Restraints Lounge as well as fun White Claw merch. White claw also had “The White Claw Surf Shop”. Badge holders could get four free White Claws, and enjoy some tacos while being eligible to win the white claw surfboard.
The SXSW atmosphere was enthusiastic. You could feel the excitement everyone had to be back in person. There was networking at every corner. People from all around came out for this year's SXSW. You could feel the lively energy and togetherness this year. Everyone was willing to help and was open to meeting new people. The free merch and food were definitely one of the highlights of my SXSW experience! There was an endless amount of free samples and memorabilia at every turn. Definitely will be returning to next year’s SXSW.