Music and film lovers from all over the world traveled to Austin, Texas for the famous festival, South by Southwest, from March 8th to the 17th; people experienced novelties including never before seen entertainment sections and an unfortunate accident.
The festival, which includes music, film, and interactive entertainment, was inaugurated in 1987. Each year the festival has grown more and more popular, drawing in audiences from all over the world. This year featured musical performances from over 100 artists, including Coldplay, Vampire Weekend, Tegan and Sara, The Neighbourhood, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Imagine Dragons. The film portion of the festival premiered numerous animated short films, narrative films, documentaries, and music videos. Previews of upcoming movies such as Cesar Chavez, and Neighbors were also screened this year. To promote their new movie Neighbors, main characters Zac Efron and Seth Rogen made a special appearance at the festival.
2014 brought a new section to the film portion of the festival called “Episodic,” which featured TV entertainment. New and popular TV shows were welcomed to the mix of entertainment, which dragged many more fans to the event. Upcoming series like Silicon Valley and From Dusk to Dawn: The Series were previewed.
Thousands of people visit this famous festival looking for a good time. However, with events the size of South by Southwest come some risks. Unfortunately this year a tragedy struck the public when the irresponsibility of one individual affected the lives of many.
On March 12th, a drunk driver hit a crowd at South by Southwest, killing three people and injuring 23 more. Rashad Charjuan Owens had fled a sobriety checkpoint at the festival, and while trying to escape from officers, he ran into a line of attendees waiting outside of the Mohawk Bar. He is now being charged with capital murder. The managing director of the South by Southwest Festival, Roland Swenson, released a compassionate statement the night after the tragedy. He said, “The SXSW staff is stunned and deeply moved by the events of last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and with the families of the fatalities.” It is unfortunate that casualties could occur at the festival since the nature of the event is mainly entertainment. A tragedy such as this was shocking and has left people wondering if the festival has become too large.