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Mellow crowd in early hours of first night of iTunes Fest

Michael Barnes
mbarnes@statesman.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published March 11, 2014

The faithful lined up for the iTunes Festival at SXSW as early as 5 p.m. Tuesday, five hours before headliners Coldplay would appear on the ACL Live stage, not their first gig at the intimate Austin venue. A good thing, too, since security — as stringent as at some airport terminals — and the attendant video release process took quite some time.

As such, the three levels of the theater, banked with audio and video equipment, were slow to fill for the first act — moody, insistent London Grammar — which fired up around 7:30 p.m. Miranda and Rieter and John Arsenault from Denver felt lucky to have gone through the lottery to obtain the wristbands and tickets, and they understood the reasons for all the extra gatekeeping. Robert Walker and Kelly Lux of North Austin, for their part, have sidestepped most of the SXSW madness. Coldplay, they felt, was worth the extra effort. Fernando Calvache and Rodrigo Jatene from Sao Paulo, Brazil, were ecstatic to win the drawing and looked forward to the middle band, Imagine Dragons. Ben Krupa from Minneapolis’ Institute of Production and Recording is in town for SXSW Music and was into all three bands. He is basking in the sunny weather after a particularly harsh winter up north.

At least for the opening acts, the audience remained remarkably well behaved, perhaps because so many of them had just come from five long days of SXSW Interactive or Film.

Kendrick Lamar is the headliner on Wednesday night.