SXSW scene report: Get a look inside the mtvU Woodie Awards

How do you fit a festival inside another festival? Look no further than SXSW and the mtvU Woodie Awards.

(Eric Webb/American-Statesman)
Click to enlarge. (Photo by Eric Webb/American-Statesman)

A celebration of “music that college students love” that’s become a fixture of Austin’s sprawling March music festival, the Woodies this year took over the American-Statesman parking lot. The actual awards ceremony starts at 8 p.m. and will air live on MTV, but before the broadcast, up-and-coming acts performed back to back for a pre-show music festival.

The rain plaguing SXSW on Friday was a constant but manageable sprinkle as electro-alt artist Robert Delong started to play at 4 p.m. A sea of plastic hoods and damp heads gathered at the stage.

Woodies attendees came to the show in varying degrees of rainproof dress. Some huddled under the few trees in the Statesman parking lot; others roamed free in the rain. Most people thought to bring brightly colored rain ponchos and rain jackets. There was also a robust contingent rocking garbage bags.

Some Woodies attendees, however, stood wet and proud. Robert King, attending from San Marcos with Leah Cuddeback, thought about picking up a poncho on the way, but ended up not snagging one.

King, who’s excited to see Big Sean perform during the awards, seemed unfazed by the wetness.

Event staff handed out free condoms at the mtvU Woodie Awards Festival on March 20, 2015. (Eric Webb/American-Statesman)
Event staff handed out free condoms at the mtvU Woodie Awards Festival on March 20, 2015. (Eric Webb/American-Statesman)

Like any good festival, several tents offered amenities beyond the music. Soggy SXSW-ers received food and drink tickets, and the cocktail and beer line appeared to move quickly. Hungry out-of-towners were in for a smoky treat. Famed local barbecue joint Salt Lick catered the food tents, serving up ribs, sausage wraps, chopped beef and turkey sliders, their famous barbecue sauce and hatch green chile macaroni and cheese. Elsewhere, attendees could find a massage chair, a recharge station and a T-shirt printing tent. One of the odder stops on the Woodies grounds: the free condom tent.

Pre-awards performance highlights included 18-year-old Atlanta wunderkind Raury, New York pop band MisterWives, dance music group Clean Bandit, “Throw Sum Mo” hip hop duo Rae Sremmurd and rappers Action Bronson and Ty Dolla Sign.

Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff will host the awards broadcast, which is set to feature performances from Big Sean, Years and Years, Fall Out Boy and James Bay. Other celebrities scheduled to make appearances include Zoe Kravitz, Tove Lo and Marina & The Diamonds.

Author: Eric Webb

Eric Webb is a web producer for the Austin American-Statesman and Austin360. He blogs about Austin culture, pop culture and anything that lives on the Internet.

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