What is this, South by Pacific Northwest?
Early Saturday afternoon, SXSW marched along South Congress Avenue despite the drizzle and intermittent rain.
Bands fired up at Hotel San Jose, Snack Bar, Güero’s, Home Slice and, for the second year, at South Congress Baptist Church. There, the gospel rock group John Anthony growled on a small stage surrounded by food trailers.
"We are expecting a lot more people as the day goes on," said Pastor George Tuthill. "Especially if the sun comes out."
Nearby stood a prayer booth.
"People are praying for the families of the accident victims," said Shelly Dexter. "For others and for themselves."
Ducking under the canopy of Allens Boots across the avenue was Austinite James Bilodeau and his guest in town from Pennsylvania, Nana Dawson-Ando. Had rain changed her visit?
"Not too much," she said. "It hasn’t hailed yet. Heard it could hail."
Those working shops along SoCo — which treat SXSW and its shoulder-to-shoulder foot traffic like a second Christmas — said business was steady.
"Last Saturday when it rained hard it affected us," said Erika Albright, a clerk at South Congress Books. "Today, not so much."
"Weather can play a big role in our traffic," said Erin Slade of Allens Boots. "But we’re good."
"Yesterday was crazy busy," said Jeff Mills, who works at Farm to Market Grocery. "One of the best days of the year. Rain hasn’t hit us hard today."
Before 2 p.m., crowds were very light for bands playing Music by the Slice at Home Slice and those at the parking lot of Snack Bar. There was plenty of elbow room, too, at Güero’s oak grove venue compared to Friday at the same time.
Outside lines remained long for Hopdoddy and Jo’s. South by San Jose fans proved a bit hardier and popped out little umbrellas when mist turned to rain.