SXSW For A 19-Year-Old

South by Southwest can be an amazing experience especially for people in the music industry. Every year hundreds of artists around the world unite in Austin, Texas, for a “music festival” spread out over the city, some events reaching past city limits. Although SXSW can be a great experience for fans and an even better experience for artists across the board to network, the idea of SXSW comes with much confusion if you’ve never been. When first looking into the two-week extravaganza, you’ll more than likely come across wristbands/passes costing $1,000+ which get you prime access to “official” events and 21+ age limits for the majority of the showcases. After seeing how many friends and admired musicians were attending SXSW 2019, I bit the bullet and gathered every bit of information that remotely made sense, said screw paying for a wristband, packed everything I needed, arranged extra details and hit the road as a 19-year-old kid.



With SXSW being mainly a 21+ festival and, luckily, having a few specific resources to possibly help me get access to 21+ events as a teenager, I had no other choice but to either try and succeed or to fail and try again. If I hadn’t tried at all, then I would’ve missed out on an amazing experience and I wouldn’t have met so many new friends I came in contact with.


All of my equipment is made by either Nikon or Sigma, and I edit 99% of my photo work in Lightroom with occasional Photoshop uses (none in this project). I have a specific way of editing each photo which every photographer should have. Editing techniques are an artist’s natural watermark.






My approach in this situation isn’t necessarily ideal, but given the situation and result, there have been mixed responses of doubt, surprise, and curiosity.

I focused more on experience and making friends during SXSW. The only lesson I could’ve learned from this would’ve been to push yourself ten times harder than you can handle because opportunities like this don’t come often, especially when you’re young.

1 – Sometimes breaking the rules balanced with logical guidelines can become a catalyst for success
2 – You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take
3 – Passion trumps everything that tries to stop it

Will Fenwick