When March rolls around, everyone knows that it is officially Texas time. :)For two weeks in March, Austin, Texas is over run by geeks, musicians and filmmakers for one of the largest growing creative gatherings in the world, the South by Southwest Festival. Known in shorthand as SXSW, this festival is split into three parts: Interactive, which is the stomping ground for the best and brightest in the technology/internet realm, Film, which is the perfect showcase of the newest visionaries and finally Music, which has become renown as the best spot to hear the freshest musicians in the world. SXSW is often the place for new product launches, band debuts and film premieres with often the reception in technology specifically tending to early adopter trends. This year at the Interactive portion of SXSW the biggest buzz was the feuding war between two recently launched location based smartphone apps, Foursquare and Gowalla. Each turns life into w a game through the smartphone's GPS, location based check-ins and various point systems. Here are few reasons why Gowalla really stole the show at SXSW 2010 :- Gowalla has home turf advantage with their base camp stationed in Austin, Texas.- Launched in December, Gowalla has been the underdog that has picked up momentum with its bright UI- Gowalla released a large portion of their VIP tickets to their sponsored party through wristbands that a user could pickup from only using the app during SXSWSo needless to say, Gowalla and Foursquare were everywhere during this SXSW! Whether it was on twitter, sponsored parties or free swag: this was the year of the location!Static Photography had the chance to shoot the Gowalla Tiki Room Party at the Belmont in Austin, Texas this year. This event was co-sponsored by LIVESTRONG, which is an organization that raises funding and support for cancer research. Overall it was a raging party with amazing Diplo spinning tunes the entire night.Here is a photographic recap of the Gowalla/Diplo Party:There were two ways to get into the Gowalla Party: the VIP entrance allowed you special access and treats but was only open to app users who had retrieved wristbands in the game and the regular entrance was a normal long que. There are many perks to being an Gowalla user!Keeping with the theme of the party, the drink menu was definitely tiki-bar inspired. Three specialty drinks, properly named The Livestrong, The Gowalla and the Mai Tai, kept the party-goers very happy.The Ice Cream Man is everywhere! This LA-based company has one main motto: to give out free ice cream all the time. They have accomplished that fairly well this SXSW.Unlike other apps were prizes are completely unretrievable outside of the UI, Gowalla allows for real world conversions for items acquired in app. A perfect example is the wristband found in the app could be traded for a VIP entrance to the party.Gowalla Founder/CEO Josh Williams and his lovely wife Rachael enjoyed a quiet dinner at the Belmont Bar before the festivities began. Technology loving geeks seem to always be on their phone but there is a good reason! They just might be checking into a location on Gowalla…Bolthouse Juices have also been everywhere during this SXSW festival. A healthy alternative to the open bars that are everywhere, these juices are perfect alternative.The opening DJ warmed up the crowd with some great dance tracks and some live vocals. Originally from Vancouver Diplo is known around the world as being the best in breaking dance beats. He helped M.I.A. with her musical career early on.Despite the rainfall the crowd loved the music and danced the night away.Gowalla Founder/CEO Josh Williams was getting down in the front row during Diplo's first set. The weather was not going to stop him!Some fellow music friends travelled to see Diplo spin at the Belmont. Maybe they will be playing some shows later this week?In line with the Tiki Bar theme, there was a troop of Hawaiian dancers that performed for the crowd. The music was perfect, the dancing was a perfect break and the crowd loved it.The fire dancers were amazing! Using both poi and staff these dancers performed effortlessly to a soundtrack of down-tempo dubstep. These guys from the Universal Record Database dressed in matching uniforms that made them stand out in the crowd.Nina Hartley, adult film star, Danielle Sipple, studio manager of Static Photography and Tolly Moseley, reporting for Treehugger, gather inside the Belmont during the closing moments of the end of the evening. The last nightly to-do is the ceremony of the 'catching the cab' which can often be a difficult feat when closing down the bar. :) At the end of the night, if a smile is still on your face, you know the party was a hit! SXSW festival is always a good time when you are around friends having a good time. The best part of location based apps is now it is easier more than ever to be with your friends amidst the craziness of Austin during the two weeks of SXSW. Gowalla proved to be the winner with its smart interface and intuitive connection from online to real-life currency.Go Go Gowalla! Static Photography always has a blast at the SXSW festival, whether it is taking pictures of geeks, musicians or filmmakers. Make sure to check back for more photo essays from this year's SXSW...More Information here:Kris Krüg's SXSW Photography: SXSW 2006, SXSW 2007, SXSW 2008, SXSW 2009 Gowalla Twitter Gowalla Website Bikehugger Mobile Social Bike Ride sponsored by Gowalla Robert Scoble Interviews Gowalla Founder/CEO Josh Williams
Austin Cool Kids Gowalla Rock South By Southwest's Much Hyped 'Location War'
Posted Mar 17, 2010 by kk