SXSW 2016 Diary


By Rachel Cabitt & Nat Leonard


March 14th, our Editor in Chief Nat Leonard and Digital Director Rachel Cabitt headed down south for POND Magazine's first go at SXSW. Celebrating its 30th year this March, the SXSW music festival is a week long event that spans across the city of Austin, Texas, where acts from all over the world and genres come to perform. As rookies, sponsored in part by The Impossible Project, we hopped around the city taking polaroids and film shots, of our adventures. Apart from the many showcases we attended (27 acts in total), we loved how dirty and sweaty everyone was and that even though the crotch of Nat's jeans ripped, having holes in your clothing was completely acceptable. Also, the accessibility to a good taco and free drinks had its perks. 




Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Photo: Rachel Cabitt


A 2AM departure from Bushwick to catch a 6AM flight from Newark. An hour in the air and the plane turns around and lands back in Newark. A 3 hour delay and a 4 hour plane nap later we finally wake up in Austin.

Besides feeling incredibly lost on our first day and not sure if we knew anyone within 200 miles, we wandered looking for 1. Tacos, 2. Alcohol, and 3. Boys in bands. 

Soon all was cured by margs and a table side bowl of guac made right in front of us. Texas is cool. 

Photo: Nat Leonard

Photo: Nat Leonard


We were drinking really dirty Rum & Cokes, not good dirty, but we actually thought the water might have been dirty. Nat was on Instagram and saw that Honduras was playing at Cheerup Charlies a few blocks north. We rushed over, something that we’d be doing a lot that week, and caught their last two songs. The stage was set into a cliff with rad colored lights, Rach’s favorite.

After the set, we turn around to find NYC homies, Jordan and Corey from Mainland. They’d just been on tour with Marianas Trench and another one with Jukebox the Ghost.


Cheerup Charlies, Austin, TX,  Photo: Nat Leonard

Cheerup Charlies, Austin, TX, Photo: Nat Leonard

Jordan and Corey,  Mainland ,  Photo: Nat Leonard

Jordan and Corey, MainlandPhoto: Nat Leonard

Photo: Nat Leonard

Photo: Nat Leonard

After a lot of cucumber watermelon beverages we went on a hunt for pizza, a craving that we should have cured back in New York.

We end up at an overprice pizzeria since Rachel assumed that if they paid rent on Sixth Street they had to be good.

Nat: "Stupid."

Rachel: "5.75 my ass. We get this for $1 in NY." 

...the pizza was good though.




We first met up with Go Cozy and Young Rapids, two bands from Washington D.C. on Babe City Records, at the famous Gordough’s Public House - where members of the bands split doughnuts and beers at noon. I watched someone eat a cheeseburger sandwiched between two very large doughnuts. 

Young Rapids ,  Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Young RapidsPhoto: Rachel Cabitt


Rachel: “And then I made Nat eat part of my cream cheese frosted, grilled banana, brown sugared donut.” 

Natalie: “And I thought I was going to go into cardiac arrest because of the amount of sugar I had just ingested.”

Rachel: “It was one bite you wimp.”

Natalie: “It was an experience I would rather not relive.”


We see the two bands perform later that night at The Historic Scoot Inn for a D.C. showcase.

(Go Cozy has an album release set for April 9th and will be embarking on an east coast tour through April 24th. You can preorder the tunes here)

Go Cozy ,  Photo: Nat Leonard

Go CozyPhoto: Nat Leonard


We then made our way to East Austin and stumbled into Hotel Vegas, a dimly lit venue with animal busts on the walls and three stages, to see New York band, Beverly and The Parrots, from Madrid.

Beverly ,  Photo: Rachel Cabitt

BeverlyPhoto: Rachel Cabitt

Diego and Alex,  The Parrots ,  Photo: Ra  chel Cabitt

Diego and Alex, The ParrotsPhoto: Rachel Cabitt

Photo: Nat Leonard

Photo: Nat Leonard

Photo: Ra  chel Cabitt

Photo: Rachel Cabitt




On our way from one showcase to another we see a crowd of people around two guys in a pedicab taking pictures, only to find out that it's the two Brooklyn yahoos, Vaughn and Kevin, from Acid Dad. They're too caught up in the pedicab fame to even realize it's us. 

Vaughn and Kevin,  Acid Dad ,  Photo: Nat Leonard

Vaughn and Kevin, Acid DadPhoto: Nat Leonard

Public Access T.V., Photo: Ra  chel Cabitt

Public Access T.V., Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Later that evening we met up with NYC band Public Access T.V. on their first day at SX. They just got back from a european tour with Madrid girls, HINDS. On a SXSW food poll: 75% prefer tacos over quesadillas, 75% guacamole to salsa. 50% margarita, 25% beer, 25% neither and while Austin may be a blast, NYC 100%.

Public Access T.V., Photo: Ra  chel Cabitt

Public Access T.V., Photo: Rachel Cabitt


StonefieldPhoto: Nat Leonard


Just as we were about to give up from a day of exhaustion, we came across Maggie Mae’s on 6th street. Heading inside, we found Stonefield, a four piece rock and roll band from Australia. All sisters, the girls brought the place down.



Seratones,  Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Seratones, Photo: Rachel Cabitt




Wednesday, we started the morning off with Louisiana based four-piece, Seratones, before their set at the Showtime Roadies showcase with Chicago band Whitney. On their last song, lead singer AJ handed Rachel a cow skull to hold.

Fader Fort, Photo: Nat Leonard

We next arrived at Fader Fort to see long time favorites, Twin Peaks, perform an afternoon set to a large crowd.

We ran into Brooklyn photographer, Daniel Topete and chatted as he took a break from a day of running around. Good friends with the boys of Twin Peaks (he shot the photo used in the artwork on the cover of their upcoming album Down in Heaven coming out in May), the band lovingly came over as Clay ate a banana.


Photographer Daniel Topete with Colin Croom of Twin Peaks, Photo: Nat Leonard

 Twin Peaks  (minus Jack) after their set at Fader Fort,  Photo: Nat Leonard

 Twin Peaks (minus Jack) after their set at Fader Fort, Photo: Nat Leonard


Rach got 4 high fives for her Rooftops NYC tee


Outside YouTube Music's showcase at Coppertank, Photo: Nat Leonard

The Parrots at Barracuda,  Photo: Rachel Cabitt

The Parrots at Barracuda, Photo: Rachel Cabitt


Acid Dad after their set at Icenhauer'sPhoto: Nat Leonard



Later that night we got to see the babes Acid Dad perform at Icenhauer's, for the first time since their month long tour with White Reaper. Changed men now, they do laundry more often on tour than they do back home.


Just as we were leaving, we saw two clear rectangular boxes being setup, accompanied by a bedazzled keyboard stand on stage. In a haste, we snapped a polaroid on our way out.

But thanks to the glory that is SX, we got to see Holiday Mountain, the band behind the elaborate stage setup, the next day at the Wreckroom Records showcase, where they literally brought everyone's asses down to the floor.

Holiday Mountain ,  Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Holiday MountainPhoto: Rachel Cabitt


In between songs at the Roadies showcase earlier that afternoon, we had heard familiar guitar riffs coming from across the street. After googling who was playing the Collide showcase, we ran across the street to catch the end of Hockey Dad’s set, a duo from Australia.

We caught up with Billy and Zach later that evening when they played a late night set at Valhalla.  


Hockey Dad at Valhalla, Photo: Nat Leonard

Billy Fleming & Zach Stephenson of Hockey Dad,  Photo: Nat Leonard

Billy Fleming & Zach Stephenson of Hockey Dad, Photo: Nat Leonard

Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Photo: Rachel Cabitt



Honduras  back stage at Fader Fort,  Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Honduras back stage at Fader Fort, Photo: Rachel Cabitt




Honduras was the first band we saw at SX when we found them playing at Cheerup Charlies on Monday night. Friends of friends from Brooklyn, we officially met the lead singer, Pat, backstage during Sunflower Bean’s set at Fader Fort on Thursday.  

Day Wave  on stage at Fader Fort,  Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Day Wave on stage at Fader Fort, Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Outside Hotel Vegas,  Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Outside Hotel Vegas, Photo: Rachel Cabitt



After Fader, we were supposed to meet the DREAMERS for BBQ at a food truck across the street, but the Spotify House was next door and combined with the engine from the food truck, you could hardly hear yourself think. It was hot and loud and the streets were filled with drunks. We ventured in search of a quieter place to chill, almost stopping in the Texas State Cemetery for peace and quiet, when we happened upon the answer to our prayers: a literal zen garden with shaded tables.

DREAMERS ,  Photo: Nat Leonard

DREAMERSPhoto: Nat Leonard

DREAMERS, Photo: Rachel Cabitt

DREAMERS, Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Photo: Rachel Cabitt



That night we went south of central downtown Austin, over the river, to Arlyn Studios for the Wreckroom Records Showcase. We saw City of the Sun, Band of Heathens, Holiday Mountain, DREAMERS, and Emily Wolfe.


City of the SunPhoto: Nat Leonard

City of the Sun,  Photo: Rachel Cabitt

City of the Sun, Photo: Rachel Cabitt



Photo: Nat Leonard

Photo: Nat Leonard


It's midnight and with a few hours left of our last night in Austin, we decided to head to a house party around the University of Texas, where White Reaper, who has been on tour with Acid Dad, was set to play. 

On our way over we got some free Kale chips from our Lyft ride #lyftsponsorus #kale

Nat,  Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Nat, Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Rach,  Photo: Nat Leonard

Rach, Photo: Nat Leonard



We walked right into a hot boxed living room full of a mosh pit of people. There were people sharing cigarettes and beers from a keg on the porch. The living room acted as the stage and people watched the show through open windows that led into a backyard. We had kegs, BBQ, and even a pair of flame throwers (still confused where the flame throwers came from).

Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Photo: Rachel Cabitt

Photo: Nat Leonard

Photo: Nat Leonard


Photo: Nat Leonard


We ended our last night in Texas like typical New Yorkers with a large pizza on the curb. The disposable camera selfies taken on said curb are not to be shared, so here's one of Kevin instead. 

Photo: Nat Leonard

Photo: Nat Leonard

That morning we woke up to a cinnamon roll the size of our faces for breakfast that the people we stayed with had left us. 

We left them a polaroid. 


Special thanks to The Impossible Project