We did it! Weeks of late nights and early mornings, hundreds of tacos and thousands of music fans and now we are home from hosting our first official showcase at the South by Southwest festival in Austin TX: Pandora’s very own Discovery Den.
This year the music portion of SXSW saw at least 25,000 attendees, hundreds of venues and more than 2,000 bands of every genre possible. The festival is a place where lesser known artists become discovered as well as where popular artists often show up as special guests. Some of the festival’s top names this year included Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Jack White and Kanye West. At the Pandora Discovery Den, we featured four days and nights of amazing music including acts like Band of Skulls, Big K.R.I.T., Glen Hansard and Gary Clark Jr. The place was packed and people seemed to be having a good time, which we love!
Bruce Springsteen reflected on the festival in his keynote address:
“The word ‘keynote’ made me uncomfortable. It seemed to suggest that there was a key note to be struck that sums up whatever is going on out there in the streets: five days of bands, hundreds of venues, morning to night. And no one hardly agrees on anything in pop anymore. There is no key note. I don’t think. There’s no unified theory of everything. You can ask Einstein.”
We hosted the Pandora Discovery Den at Antone’s, a historical Austin night club that helped launch the career of Stevie Ray Vaughan and many others. Keynote or not, it was invigorating to see so many hard working artists bringing their best to the stage night after night. Dedication, creativity and well executed performances did not go unnoticed. We heard people talking about starting new Pandora stations based on the artists they were hearing.
Later in Springsteen’s talk, he identified the power and purpose of music as a unifying characteristic:
“Purity of human expression is not confined to guitars… There’s no right way of doing it, there’s just doing it. We live in a post authentic world… It’s the power and purpose of your music that still matters.”
Four days and nights of music at the Pandora Discovery Den, inspired by The Boss’ thoughtful words, running on very little sleep, powered by Texas BBQ and burritos, we were also reminded of the overwhelming power of music. Thank you SXSW and thank you to all of the musicians!
– Aaron (Community Manager)
(Lower Photo: Gary Clark Jr. performing at the Pandora Discovery Den at SXSW 2012)