“I have been shooting musicians and live events for several years and decided to volunteer this year for the official SXSW photography crew,” says DeMent. “I participated in five shifts over the course of five days and photographed about 30 bands throughout the festival.”
Possibly the largest event in Austin all year, South By Southwest attracts about 50,000 people to Austin each year. Visitors come from all over the country to enjoy performances, panels, screenings and more, all pertaining to music, film and the interactive industry.
This year’s event ran from March 9-17 but DeMent participated from March 12-16.
Prior to the big week, DeMent says the volunteers were required to participate in orientation meetings, and all photographers had to attend additional crew meetings to get an idea of what type of photos the organizers were looking for.
“I worked every day for a lot of hours very late into the evening, but it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever done,” says DeMent. “I saw a ton of bands I’ve never heard of and a few that I’m a big fan of.”
Participating in the festival also opened Dement’s eyes to a new music genre— Nerdcore rap.
“It was really interesting — a lot of songs about Star Wars and Harry Potter and math and nutrition,” he says.
DeMent says his favorite act of the week was Vintage Trouble.
“They had an old school mo-town sound with a lot of energy,” he recalls. “It was like seeing a young James Brown on stage. I went out and bought all of their albums on iTunes after the show.”
DeMent’s images will be on the SXSW website, publications, and advertising sometime around September or October. Images that he took at other venues and festivals can be seen on his Flickr site.