SXSW: Why Are We Here?

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Note: May not be actual sasquatch.
That headline is not any kind of existential plaint; Rocks Off was legitimately curious. We know why we're at SXSW - it's our job. But it's a broad, broad spectrum between those of us doing some kind of business here this week and the hordes of people in Austin purely to party.

So, because we are such a people person, we picked out a handful of perfect strangers to ask the simplest of SXSW questions - "Why are you here?" in three very different locations: The homegrown Houston Invasion party at East Austin's Gypsy Lounge, featuring Folk Family Revival, the Tontons, the Handshake, Chase Hamblin, Wild Moccasins, Fat Tony and many others; hipster SXSW Bible Brooklyn Vegan's shindig next door; and passers-by on deepest, darkest Sixth Street, which these few days in March rivals Times Square as the crossroads of the world.

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Photos by Chris Gray

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Brett Cannon
Owner, Paper Thin Media, Austin
Age: Forgot to ask, probably mid/late 20s

Why are you here? "I manage [Houston band] Holy Fiction. They're playing here in an hour. I manage six bands playing SXSW."

Greg Liestman
Director of Admissions, Art Institute of Houston
Age: 43

Why are you here? "Where to even begin? I've always lived music, and I've never been to SXSW before. Being in the middle of the epicenter of the music business, you can't beat it. I spent all day trying to get into Springsteen yesterday [shows off wristband], and I got in."

Fred Niemann
Lawyer, Austin
Age: 30

Why are you here? "I used to live in Houston. I heard about the party, and wanted to see bands I haven't seen in a long time or have never seen before."

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L-R: Erin Patten, Catherine Cooksey, Gabrielle Sauls, Handshake bassist Aidan Kennedy
Catherine Cooksey
Boutique Sales Clerk/Food Blogger (, Houston
Age: 25

Why are you here? "We all drove in together and just now parked around the corner. We specifically came to see the Handshake."

Erin Patten
Business School Student/MBA Candidate, Houston
Age: 27

Why are you here? "I came to Austin to see my friends. Austin is my second home. I went to school here."

Gabrielle Sauls
Fashion Designer/Intern, PaperCity
Age: 23

Why are you here? "I'm just here to have fun. I have deadlines coming up in a couple of weeks, and I'm trying to pretend like they don't exist."

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My Question is since this is The Houston Press , why didn't someone stay in Houston and review a few of the shows that came through town from Thursday on?

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