I should've known Wednesday was going to be a bad day when Kevin Gates didn't show for his performance at the Pitchfork Showcase at 12:30 PM. Although I had my reservations that he'd be able to make the early-ish set time, his no-show was a move that clearly disappointed the fans gathered on the grassy hillside at French Legation to see him. His DJ played the hits and then quit with no announcement or explanation. I drank a sugar free Red Bull to prepare myself for Fader Fort's open bar and headed over to see Lil Bibby.

Drinking some awful rum-pineapple concussion at Fader Fort and turning up to Lil Bibby at 1:30 would be the bright spot of the day, but I didn't know that yet. My boyfriend lived in Chicago for a few years and came up covering the rap scene there, so his interest in Lil Bibby was warranted. I was pleasantly surprised though by the energy and quick-flow of his rhymes—this is a nineteen-year-old to watch.

From Fader I went to the convention center to pick up my day pass for the session I'd be attending later. Lost in the milling crowd I tried to head to Casa Brasil for the free barbecue but it was only for badge holders! There is this awful, sinking feeling of being at the bottom of an unjust hierarchy that exists at SXSW if you don't have a badge. Due to my late planning I had no press pass this year, but experiencing this side of things was definitely eye-opening when you've grown used to all-access and nice accommodations. It gave me a lot of perspective on fans and other civilians who attend the event out of free will and not an obligation to their career/industry. After being turned away at Casa Brasil we wandered into the PMA/Pledge Music party just down the street and caught a few songs by Australia's fast-rising Panama. What in the hell is in the water in the southern hemisphere right now? Between Lorde, Broods, and now this Sydney group, I am obsessed with the whole scene down under.

But my hunger was too great and I was getting cranky, almost reaching a breaking point with the crowds and the flurry of activity. I longed for my quiet Brooklyn apartment and a nice sandwich—in the midst of an internationally acclaimed festival I felt a bout of homesickness. Luckily I found a free hot dog coupon I'd earned for tweeting a photo of a woman in a hot dog suit yesterday and it revitalized me. There was another rap party my boyfriend wanted to go to called Cisco Kidd's Block Party. It was held in a clothing store and the first MC had chosen the unfortunate name "Ray P" which, when rapped, brings to mind sexual assault more than any other ciphers. Fortunately he was followed by The Outfit, TX who ruled. Right after their set began I had to leave for my session so I only caught a few songs but they had an easy humor and great hooks.

The session I attended was concerning music streaming, digital radio and how to get your music heard in the internet age. I have to say, being in the stifling, straight edge nerdery of the convention center made me see why the arts scene of Austin would rise up and throw unofficial showcases with ragged edges and raw sounds—it felt weird to go back into mild-mannered office space after the din of outdoor SXSW. Anyway, in the session, the Slacker radio dude who was there seemed to think Slacker was the greatest thing ever, though I guarantee most of us have never used it. Maria Sciarrino inspired everyone there by railing against corporate bullshit and Stephen Erlewine made the excellent much-overlooked point that the "best" music doesn't just magically rise to the top. That is a myth that I hate to hear perpetuated so often! About an hour in I was antsy and my friend had just flown in so I went to meet her for tacos and margaritas.

Later, my internship at SPIN Magazine years ago served me well, as my old boss in the marketing department is now an event producer and she practically parted the Red Sea to get me into a cool showcase in front of hundreds of people in line! So much for feeling dejected and left out earlier! I watched great sets by Phantogram and Aloe Blacc while sipping a Strongbow cider (shouts out to the UK, you guys love that stuff right?) and then went to try catch Leverage Models at Audiofemme's second showcase. Sadly, the venue didn't really have the equipment that the band needed and they had to cancel. If you want to see them though, go to the Hometapes showcase on Saturday night at Wonderland. I've been trying to catch a set by this band since I was in Savannah last weekend so hopefully I'll be there too.

My throat was killing me so I headed home after this, a still looming deadline hanging heavy over my head. Laying in bed drinking some hot water to soothe my sore throat, I saw Twitter explode with the news of a car breaking into the pedestrian-heavy area of SXSW downtown. As the story unfolded, two people were killed and 20+ were injured. My boyfriend and countless other friends were still in the thick of things right near that intersection so I began a frenzy of texting and calling. Luckily for me, my loved ones were all safe. But the same isn't true for others. My plan for Thursday was to go to Stereogum's party which was to be held at the venue right near the accident, it has now officially been cancelled which I think is the right move. I'm still in my hotel room, kind of just savoring the goodness of being alive and mourning that we only get to have this time for a little while. That sometimes it's taken away from us so mindlessly and how often we take the beauty of pure and simple living for granted. I spent the day feeling jealousy of other people's credentials at a music festival… events like this put those petty feelings into perspective.

I'll eventually head back out into the thick of things but for now, I'm taking a moment to breathe and be thankful for the little things.