SXSW Day 4: Reflecting at Breakfast on a Night of Tragedy

Bands, entertainment, events, music, Music Conferences


My homeboy Travis McFetridge, owner of Great South Bay Music, had invited me to join him for a brunch at the Driskill Hotel which was being sponsored by SESAC on Thursday morning, so I agreed to meet him there, and until I did, I wasn’t even aware that there had been an incident on Red River Street the night before in which two South By Southwest attendees had been killed. Apparently a man who was driving drunk was being pulled over by Austin police at 10th and Red River, and deciding that he didn’t want to go to jail, the driver crashed through a barricade and careened down Red River Street running over pedestrians. Two were killed instantly, and 14 others severely injured, including some who lost limbs. It’s not the sort of thing that one expects at a music conference and festival, and there was something of an appalled silence among people on Thursday morning. There were even those who called for festival events or showcases to be called off, but fortunately, South By Southwest declined to cancel events that were not directly impacted by the incident and where it occurred. Even so, I was shocked. I had just been at Cheer Up Charlie’s earlier in the afternoon, and could have very easily been on Red River Street when the tragedy unfolded.

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