Why Street Performers are the Heart of SXSW

By Madison Tyson
Assistant Multimedia Director

This spring break, I was able to photograph the SXSW 2018 Music Festival for KTSW. While on Sixth St. in Austin. During SXSW Music, one sees all types of street performers. From rappers to jugglers, from piano players performance artists, and from a one-man-band to a solo singer with only their speaker to back them up. I had to walk up and down Sixth St. countless times that week. I slowly came to the realization that the street performers are the heart of SXSW Music.

I used to find street performers to be either too loud or too obnoxious; mostly, I had an irrational fear that they would grab me for some sort of audience participation type of thing. What I now understand is that street performers are really only there to either get their name out into the music industry, enjoy performing for others, or simply put a smile on someone’s face. The vibe of SXSW Music would not be the same without them. They provide the essential background music and the exciting entertainment for festival goers while they are not inside an official venue. It is part of the SXSW Music experience to be walking along Sixth St. and watch the street performers.

These are some of my favorite street performers I encountered. Maybe you will see them and begin to understand why they are clearly the quintessence of SXSW.



All photos by Madison Tyson.

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