SXSW 2018 is right around the corner now, so we wanted to take some time to fill you in with some music to check out before going – along with tips to keep your feet safe at the hottest festival of the year.
This year, SXSW is happening March 9-18, with the music portion being held between March 12-18. As one of the preeminent festivals in the world, the event is one of the most important dates on the Austin calendar. No matter if you are a fan of film or music, want to participate in interactive media conferences, or have to know about the most innovative technological advances and trends, SXSW is where you want to be.
Given that an estimated 300,000 people are expected to attend this year, there’s a chance that either yourself or someone you know or love is going to the festival. With this being the case, let’s dive into bands you need to check out before SXSW, and ones to remind you of previous years.
The Music Scene at SXSW 2018
As is always the case, our city will be well-represented at SXSW 2018. This year, Austin acts performing at the festival include garage rockers Leather Girls, psychedelic trio Night Beats, Latin funk ensemble Cilantro Boombox, family hip-hop act The Bishops, and singer-songwriter David Ramirez. Other local artists taking the stage include Warren Hood, Curved Light, Adam Torres, William Harries Graham, Charlie Faye & the Fayettes, Greenbeard, VVV, and Oliver Rajamani.
From an international perspective, attendees may want to check out Japanese indie rockers DYGL, German R&B singer (and H&M designer) Ace Tee, and Indonesian rapper and comedian Rich Chigga.
Other highlights for 2018 include post-punk legends The Wedding Present, Baltimore’s three-piece Snail Mail, and Las Vegas electro-pop artist Shamir.
As you load up your playlists with tracks from this year’s bands, make sure you drop in some classics from previous years’ performers. Since we’re talking about the world’s largest music festival of its kind—plus the fact it’s been going strong since 1987—you have an embarrassment of riches with regards to music to choose from.
Widely-regarded as one of the top moments from the festival’s history, The Flaming Lips’ “Parking Lot Experiment No. 4” from SXSW 1997 was also one of the numerous memorable experiences of the band’s history. We recommend cueing up some of the Lips’ tracks off of The Soft Bulletin and mixing them into your SXSW playlist.
It’s still strange to think Prince is no longer with us. It was only a couple of years back—wait, it’s really been five years already!—when he delivered an epic, two-hour-and-forty-minute performance – making good on his "Don't make me hurt you – you know how many hits I have?" threat between the second and third encores. After 2013, it didn’t seem as though SXSW would ever be the same!
When people decry the festival’s commercialization, some point to Kanye West’s 2011 “surprise” performance at Vevo Powerstation. No matter your opinion of West—and it’s virtually impossible to pull a “Switzerland” and claim neutrality on the topic—his musical genius is undeniable. He has such an outstanding musical collection to choose from, but pull up some of his classics from 808s & Heartbreak or, better yet, put the whole album in the playlist.
The time is always right to pay a tribute to The Man in Black, and especially when we talk about SXSW. His 1994 keynote speech still gives us goosebumps, and it gets a little dusty in the room when his cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” is played. To mix things up, add a couple different cover songs—Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage” and Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”—to the list. (Although, no one will fault you for also including “Hurt.”)
For the fun of it, include Hanson’s “MMMBop,” since the band was signed to their major label debut at SXSW 1995.
The “Keeping Your Feet Safe” Scene at SXSW 2018
If you head to this year’s SXSW—or you have friends or loved ones who are going—we have some tips to help keep feet safe at the festival. These include:
- Want to keep feet cool? Take a pass on the flip-flops! Sure, these summer staples allow your feet to breathe, but save them for walking on the beach. Why? Two big reasons – 1) most flip-flops do not offer anything close to the amount of arch support and cushioning your feet need and 2) there’s only the thin piece of material keeping them on.
The first point is fairly self-explanatory. With regards to the second, though, take a moment and think about what your toes do when you walk around in flip-flops. In all likelihood, they are curled to press down as you walk. The problem with this is the fact it overworks muscles and tendons in your toes and feet. Imbalance with these soft tissues are a major contributing factor for hammertoe conditions.
- Sport the right kinds of footwear... SXSW has long been THE event for cool kids from all over. Well, we have no qualms with you wearing fashionable kicks – as long as they are breathable (to keep feet cool without the aforementioned flip-flop problems) and provide sufficient support for your feet and ankles.
- And make sure they fit! Appropriate footwear is a great starting point, but you need to wear shoes that fit well. At least, you should if you want to avoid problems like blisters, ingrown toenails, and calluses. Both too loose and too tight are bad, so choose models that cradle your heel firmly (when laced) and still offer a little room for toes to wiggle. If you can’t wiggle your toes or find that your feet slide around inside your shoes, you simply need to pick a different size. (Don’t try to tough it out – no matter how cute those shoes are!)
- Stay adequately hydrated. When you’re walking around SXSW conferences and festivals, it’s easy to develop foot cramps—your lower limbs contain numerous muscles!—if you are dehydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day, and especially if the temperatures start to creep up this year.
Another advantage to making sure you drink enough water—and particularly if you consume lots of salty snacks or food at concert—is that you lower your risk for edema. This condition is a matter of swelling that develops in the lower limbs. Remember, as Radiohead said, “gravity always wins.” So fluids can easily pool in your feet and ankles when you’re on your feet all day. No need to help by consuming a lot of sodium without drinking enough water!
- Even if you’re not there to exercise, stretch beforehand. Everyone knows you should stretch and warm up prior to exercise and physical activity, but sometimes we forget how much stress is placed on the lower limbs even when we just walk or stand for extended periods of time. Now, the best practice is to stretch your legs and feet every day. In the event you’re more of a “casual-to-non” stretcher, start your SXSW day with some appropriate stretches.
- Avoid the burn. If you do wear supportive sandals or other open-toed footwear, protect your feet with a liberal application of sunscreen (SPF-30 or higher). The sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, so make sure you have sun protection during those hours. Of course, a pair of comfy, breathable close-toed shoes also protects your feet from harsh sunlight.
Professional Foot Care When You Need It
Our hope is that you are able to keep your feet healthy and safe at SXSW—and at any other time—but we know injuries happen and problems arise. If they do, come see Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists for the exceptional, first-class care you need. We will assess the nature of the condition and then create an effective treatment plan to resolve it.
Contact us today for more information or to request an appointment with our Austin podiatrist practice by calling (512) 328-8900.