As an Austin corporate event photographer, SXSW is always an exhilarating experience filled with innovation, creativity, and memorable encounters. There is always literally TOO much to see. In my position with the sales department at SXSW, I am privy to a first-hand look at many of the branded lounges and activations available to attendees.  By the time music rolls around, my workload is lessened, and not only do I get to photograph amazing new artists, but I always find a few to add to my list of favorites.  Among the multitude of activations, lounges, exhibits, and artists there this year, several stood out as true highlights. Here are my top picks, favorite finds, and best moments from SXSW 2024.

MØAA at SXSW 2024.
The Ayoub Sisters at SXSW 2024

1. The Porsche Full Service Experience

The Porsche Full Service Experience exhibit at SXSW 2024 was a testament to the brand’s dedication to branding and meticulous attention to detail. Every aspect of the exhibit, from the sleek design of the displays to the interactive elements, was carefully curated to reflect their commitment to excellence. Visitors were immersed in a world where every detail, from the lighting to the layout, was meticulously crafted to create a seamless and unforgettable experience. You entered via what appeared to be the storefront of a full service car wash shop, which offered fun gifts to take with you. Whether exploring the latest models or engaging in interactive demonstrations, attendees were enveloped in the brand’s ethos of sophistication and innovation and in general, the exhibit served as a prime example of how Porsche elevates every touchpoint to reinforce its iconic brand identity and leave a lasting impression on its audience. Oh yeah, and Common was there one night.

Porsche Full Service Experience at SXSW 2024
An attended takes a photo in front of a robot at the Porsche Full Service experience at SXSW
An attendee walks through a car wash exhibit in the Porsche Full Service Experience at SXSW 2024.

2. Victoria Canal

I first met Victoria Canal while photographing the Stone Family Field Trip in Spokane, WA. We shared a

captivating conversation as strangers on the dock of the lake, a conversation which in hindsight foreshadows Victoria’s heartfelt and introspective lyrics. She’s adept at creating an emotional connection with her audience. Canal is also an advocate for mental health, disability awareness, and LGBTQ+ rights. She openly shares her own experiences with a rawness and candor. Victoria is currently on her first headline US tour RIGHT NOW through April 6th and you shouldn’t sleep on catching her show if she’s coming to a city near you!

Victoria Canal at the British Music Embassy at SXSW 2024.
Victoria Canal on stage at the Speakeasy in Austin TX

3. Song Camp at Arlyn Studios

SXSW Songs is a unique experience and one that I am incredibly grateful to have been asked to photograph. Held at the world-famous Arlyn Studios, the song camp provided a platform for aspiring musicians to collaborate and create a new song every day.  With a round-robin format, the participating musicians, songwriters, performers, and producers would get remixed into new groups each day for 3 days, producing a song a day which culminated in forged friendships, new partnerships, and about 25 incredible new songs. They were debuted at the end of the week at a listening party.

I was there on both day 1 and day 3, which allowed me to witness the very beginning of the creative process which was mostly just getting to know each other, through the end, where the getting-to-know-you part could be skipped and the song writing could be expedited. It was also incredibly fun to see where songs began and then be completely awed at how different the end result was than I expected.

There were a slew of amazing people that participated and I was also able to catch some of their sets over the week.  Not mentioned in this list, but worthy of checking out are the Brazilian bright bold colored cutie NonôHenry Morris, R&B act Will Singe, and Bailey Bryan.

Nohemy and Nono create music at SXSW Songs at Arlyn Studios at SXSW 2024.
Nick Ribbens helps produce a track at Arlyn Studios during SXSW song camp 2024.
Alice Ivy at SXSW song Camp at arlyn studios.

4. Alice Ivy

Alice Ivy is a SXSW Song Camp member whose show I’m SO glad I caught. To be frank, I expected this enthusiastic Melbourne-based girl to be a singer-songwriter in real life. Oh no. I was SO very wrong. She’s got electrifying beats, a dynamic stage presence, and an infectious energy that had the crowd dancing from start to finish. In fact, I caught the end of one set at the always well-curated Australia House and then returned to Swan Dive that night JUST TO DANCE. She is nothing but joy and it’s no wonder that she’s toured with the likes of Billie Eilish, Foster The People and The Midnight.

Alice Ivy takes over Australia House at SXSW 2024
Alice Ivy takes over Australia House at SXSW 2024

5. Brittany Davis

You want to know how to get your day started?  Well, it’s apparently with a Brittany Davis set. Although this woman played a day time set at the sometimes sleepy Radio Day Stage, she and her vibrant band had every person in the room bopping.

Brittany Davis is a musician, producer, engineer based in Seattle, WA. She’s also blind. She and her eclectic band draw inspiration from a wide range of genres and we heard everything from soul and R&B, to jazz, to pop that morning.

Brittany Davis on the Radio Day Stage - one of the best moments of SXSW 2024
Brittany Davis on the Radio Day Stage - one of the best moments of SXSW 2024

6. Birmingham Bound House

Sleeper find: getting assigned to photograph The Birmingham Bound House.  Specifically looking to recruit and entice young entepreneaurs, artists and tech to Birmingham, they went above and beyond creating an A-plus experience for all their attendees.  They purposely held their sponsored exhibit very off the beaten path of SXSW, keeping out the riffraff just looking for free food, and instead curing a specific experience for attendees interested in what Birmingham has to offer. Catered by Contigo, one of my best moments from SXSW 2024 was watching a pizza dough making demonstration by James Beard semi-finalist Chef Ryan Westover of Birmingham’s Pizza Grace. Westover spoke of searching for a United States based location that would allow him to bring his restaurant dreams to fruition and Birmingham stepped off to offer him the capital and assistance he needed as a reason to relocate. “It’s the best decision we ever made,” he said.

A craft cocktail is made at Birmingham Bound at SXSW 2024.

7. Working for the MPAC® Hollywood Bureau

The MPAC® Hollywood Bureau’s commitment to diversity and inclusion was evident in their thought-provoking panel discussions, innovative storytelling initiatives, and participation and hosting of SXSW’s 2024 Muslim House. The evening included an absolutely incredible fireside chat with Muslim and Queer director Fawz Mirza, whose new film “The Queen of my Dreams” premiered at SXSW 2024. In addition, the Muslim House hosted the screening for the Ramadan America Film Anthology, in participation with the Islamic Scholarship Fund, which awarded 5 young filmmakers the grant money to create short films centered around Muslim stories and, as you might guess, Ramadan. They are a testament to the power of media to drive positive change and I was incredibly proud and honored to work for such an inspiring, creative, and hopeful group of creatives.

Muslim Bureau of Hollywood discusses Muslims in Hollywood at SXSW 2024
Fawz Mirza at a Fireside Chat about her new movie “The Queen of my Dreams” at SXSW 2024

8. The Sharpie-Papermate House

The Sharpie-Papermate House was an absolute delight inside and out – a hub of creativity and self-expression, it was a marriage of two brands both celebrating their anniversaries. From live art installations to hands-on workshops, it was a haven for artists and enthusiasts alike and there was ALWAYS a long line outside. Once through the gate, you were handed a fun pencil pouch filled with Sharpies and Papermate pens to take home, a cocktail card to draw your dream cocktail order on, and more. Both inside and out, opportunities to create abounded, including postcards to send to friends, water bottles, hats, and more. They had champagne (win-win for me!) and color exuded from every corner.

The Sharpie x Paper Mate Studio was one of the best moments of SXSW 2024.
Attendees sign the wall at the Sharpie x Paper Mate Studio at SXSW 2024.
Attendees of the Sharpie x Paper Mate studio cheers at the bar at SXSW 2024.

9. Viji

You want to really wake yourself up in the morning? Start your day with a narcotic, ’90s-influenced guitar rock set from Austrian-born Viji. Despite the early hour on the inside stage at Mohawk for Floodfest, Viji,

aka Vanilla Jenner, held nothing back.  I’d put it squarely in the grunge-pop sphere and she’s absolutely an artist I’m going to keep track of in the future – with energy this wild and vibrant it’s clear that she’s got places to go.

Viji on stage at Floodfest at the Mohawk at SXSW was absolutely one of the best moments of SXSW 2024.
Viji on stage at Floodfest at the Mohawk at SXSW was absolutely one of the best moments of SXSW 2024.
Viji on stage at Floodfest at the Mohawk at SXSW was absolutely one of the best moments of SXSW 2024.

10. West Texas Exiles

The West Exiles were on our radar to catch before the fest started and we’re so glad we did.  We caught an early showcase at the infamous Continental Club – they left an unforgettable impression with their electrifying fusion of country and rock.  Hailing from – you might have guessed it – Amarillo, the heart of West Texas, the band has a distinctive sound that seamlessly blends country with the raw rock that’s an absolute delight. We had such a great time at the first show we saw, we closed out SXSW with another one of their sets were we also caught Madam Radar, a kick ass explosive Americana rock band that hails from Austin, of which I have NO idea why I’ve never heard of. I’ve included photos of both – West Texas Exiles in red/black and Madam Radar in all white.

West Texas Exiles on stage at the Continental Club in Austin, TX at SXSW 2024.
Madame Radar on stage at SXSW 2024 at Zilker Brewing.
Madame Radar on stage at SXSW 2024 at Zilker Brewing.

11. Audible

Audible has been coming to SXSW for as long as I can remember. They’ve graduated from smaller houses on Rainey Street focusing on podcasting for their experiences, to full-blown street takeovers.  In this case, a carnival!  This year was exceptionally memorable with the intent to inspire, entertain, enrich, and surprise: there was a Ferris Wheel, carnival games, prizes, drag queens, DJs, and more.  Without a doubt, being in the top of a ferris wheel at 9:55 PM at night while a dance party filled with drag queens raged below was one of the best moments of SXSW 2024!

A drag queen dances at the afterhours party underneath a Ferris wheel at the Audible Experience, one of the best moments of SXSW 2024.

12. Nohemy

Nohemy is another member of SXSW Song Camp 2024 whose set I caught and I'm incredibly glad I did as she would have otherwise gone under my radar. A Latin Pop-Urban artist hailing from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, she began singing at the age of 6 in her church choir.  Today, she's influenced by a blend of sounds including salsa, reggaeton, and Latin pop.  Nohemy infuses her music with a blend of traditional rhythms and contemporary beats, creating a sound that is both nostalgic and modern. Her charisma is intoxicating and powerful, but is rooted in something that feels incredibly authentic and her set was a standout for me at this years event.

Nohemy at her SXSW 2024 Showcase.
Nohemy at her SXSW 2024 Showcase.
Nohemy at her SXSW 2024 Showcase.

SXSW never fails to bring me joy and it's an incredible ride every year. Although I still feel like I'm not fully recovered from a week of punishing my body working it, it's an event I couldn't even remotely consider skipping!  I'm already looking forward to next year working as an Austin corporate event photographer for SXSW.  I'll make sure to include more of the best moments of SXSW 2024 on my instagram.  In the meantime, if you're planning an event at SXSW or attending a future one, I have plenty of SXSW content on my blog.