It was just a couple months ago that our CEO Nicole and social media intern Danielle hit the road in their swanky Chevy Volt, courtesy of Buick and Digital DC, and headed to Austin, TX to exhibit Pelonkey at SXSW Interactive. 22 hours of driving led them through Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, and parts of Texas where they met local talent, checked out the entertainment scene (or at least what they could see of it during their hour-long rest stops), and spoke to a few performers about their life on the stage.
Once in Austin, Nicole and Danielle hit networking events, parties after parties, and conferences meeting local and remote companies and representatives, their only goal to make sure that everyone knew the name Pelonkey by the time they left. Arriving with a fairly open game plan, the two also spent time in the convention center and on the city streets checking out talented performers (and not only musicians!) that make Austin the live music capital of the country.
The highlight, for sure, was taking part in the Monday night WeDC House event, which was the place to be. Pelonkey was the most sought-after table inside, passing out swag left and right, and DJ Neekola made an appearance outside, spinning between live acts as the evening’s host. A surprise visit and shout out from DJ Kool sealed the deal as the best night of SXSW! No doubt about it, Pelonkey will definitely be back next year.
Throughout all of SXSW and the journey traveling to Austin from DC, Nicole and Danielle had their GoPro turned on, gathering footage of daily events, parties, and interviews with local entertainment.
Below, check out our little photo diary of Pelonkey’s trip to SXSW 2015!
We started our drive bright and early on Saturday morning, March 14. Taking a car down to Austin instead of a plane allowed us the freedom to stop whenever and wherever we wanted to explore. We were out to discover any kind of local talent we could. After conducting some research and outreach at home before the trip, it turned out that hitting the streets yielded the best results. On Day 1, from Knoxville to Nashville to Memphis, the Pelonkey duo was uncovering talent and native flair around every corner. And also eating some crazy good southern BBQ while enjoying the sites!
On the second and last exhausting and exhilarating day of the road trip (you try squeezing 22 hours of driving into two days without wanting to stop, drop, and nap), we were anxious to finally arrive in Austin. We took a pit stop in Little Rock and then flew straight on to Texas, where we only stopped for more BBQ (never enough) and finally arrived in the heart of downtown Austin. Our first party (and main event!) that evening was with Tech Cocktail at Maggie Mae’s. From there, we wandered the city streets, hopped to more bars and parties, made new friends, and soaked up as much of Austin as we could until 3am, running on fumes from little sleep.
Continuing with the motto "sleep is for the weak", we were up and at 'em Monday morning preparing for a long day in Austin. The first half of the day was spent party-hopping, chatting up new people, plotting and planning the Pelonkey launch, and sniffing out free food & drink. Finally, after a focus meeting, it was time to get ready for the We DC House event, where DJ Neekola donned her pink 'do to hit the decks and Danielle worked the Pelonkey table inside. We DC has been a great supporter of Pelonkey, and partnering with them for their SXSW event was just one of many collaborations to come. Thank you guys so much for helping to bring us to Austin and for putting on such a great party! You guys rock!
The highlight of the night was when Neekola was blasting "Let Me Clear My Throat", and DJ Kool himself walked over to say "Hey, that's my song!" He grabbed the mic and gave Neekola and Pelonkey a shout-out, essentially rocking both the party and our world.
The last few days of SXSW, Nicole and Danielle did more of what they came to do: network. Beautiful Austin weather followed them everywhere, and introductions were made to individuals and companies from all across the country.
We are so grateful we were able to go to SXSW 2015, and we can't stress enough how much we learned and how many great contacts we made. Pelonkey is close to launching, and the excitement we felt in Austin surrounding our venture and the tech culture in general was infectious! Thanks to everyone who helped get us to Austin, and we can't wait to come back!