SXSW 2019

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Everyone knows traffic in Austin is bad, and it’s hard to find worse traffic than downtown during South by Southwest. So if you’re going downtown, what’s the best way to get around? KUT asked three people to find out in a race through the thick of the festival.

Moyo Oyelola

Government leaders in Texas often tout the state as the best in the country for business, and they have some data to back that up. Texas is home to some of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. But a new documentary debuting this week at South by Southwest asks viewers to look at the human cost of that growth.

Courtesy of the filmmakers

For the better part of three decades, Joe Ables was on an island, surrounded by used car lots and some dilapidated apartments.

He says when he opened Saxon Pub on South Lamar, it had little competition. The only other music venues nearby were the Broken Spoke and the Horseshoe Lounge. But over the last 15 years, South Lamar has filled in. There are more apartments, restaurants and businesses – and most of those car lots are gone. The Saxon looked like it would be headed out, too.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Dear Austin,

I have a confession to make: I have misled you. It’s not something any reporter wants to say, but here we are.

I did it in a story I wrote a few years ago, after a listener asked about Austin’s claim to be the “Live Music Capital of the World.” 

Over the weekend in Austin, Texas, South by Southwest became a major presidential forum. More than half a dozen candidates showed up to the annual music, arts and technology convention. Democrats competed with each other to be the tough-on-tech candidate, a development in line with the party's move to the left but at odds with its reliance on tech donors.

The workout apparel retailer Lululemon "took over" Clive Bar on Rainey Street last week and turned it into a meditation spot for SXSW festivalgoers.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A week ago, Clive Bar on Rainey Street looked the way it always does: dark wood paneling and floors, a deck off the inside bar with tables for people to drink outside.

Friday afternoon, it was a different story.

Women attending DivInc Startup Sistas Happy Hour listen to CEO Preston James.
Juan Figueroa for KUT

Kim Roxie was a student when she first realized there was a problem.

“It was working at a makeup counter while I was in college and coming in contact with so many women who were tired of the way beauty was being done,” she says. “A lot of beige and not enough brown in the cosmetic department.”

NPR fans getting ready to go to Austin this March, we've got you covered! Here's your 2019 guide to experiencing the South By Southwest Conference and Festival the public radio way. We've got a run-down ready of panels, meet-ups and, of course, some great music events from NPR and our Member stations.

MUSIC FESTIVAL

Tuesday March 12

The official merchandise booth at this year's South by Southwest festival.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The challenge: Getting to South by Southwest 2019 – or avoiding it altogether – with as little pain and suffering as possible.

We're here to help. But you should know, getting around during this year's fest may be a little bumpier than before.