Considering another festival

I'm adding speakers, films and bands to "My Schedule" on SXSW's website. I'm starting to get in to a good work mode and the exercise is partially to prepare for the interactive portion of the festival, but mostly it is helping me with the IA work I am starting for the 2010 Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF). On that note, there are a lot of things that I think that SXSW can improve on in their user experience. Much of their site is fragmented, with no real consistency between the film, interactive and music portions of the site - and it is really unclear as to how a newcomer should approach the festival.

Usability for "logged in" users (essentially: customers) was one of the biggest complaints for CIFF last year. This was something we recognized going in to the festival, and was something we couldn't help with limited resources. With that said, it is going to be a major focus for this year's festival, and we are already underway with our first component for the 2010 festival. This is by far the earliest we have ever started work on the film festival and we're hoping to make major strides this year! There are some great lessons to be learned for interacting with the SXSW site, and I'm sure I will learn even more at the event itself.

Now... with that out of the way, I can say that adding some of the bands to my schedule has really whet my appetite for more live music. In a quick first pass I've added the following:

Andrew W.K., The Antlers, Asylum Street Spankers, Attack! Attack!, Band of Skulls, Barcelona, Bear In Heaven, The Beatards, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bowerbirds, Billy Bragg, Brasstronaut, Broken Social Scene, Caspian, Computer Club, Deer Tick, Dirty Little Rabbits, Drive-By Truckers, The Drums, Gay Witch Abortion, Geeks, Hole, Holy Fuck, Hot Panda, Japandroids, jj, Kittens Ablaze, Corb Lund, Neon Trees, Oh No Ono, The Raveonettes, The Rural Alberta Advantage, She & Him, Spoon, Stars of Track and Field, Surfer Blood, Ten Bears, This Will Destroy You, Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger!, The Uglysuit, We Are Scientists, Woodhands

It's a pretty decent list, I think. It features a couple of bands I've seen (BSS, The Drums, Corb Lund, Surfer Blood), some AB connections (Woodhands, RAA, Corb Lund), some favs (BRMC, Bowerbirds, Spoon, She & Him, AWK, Band of Skulls), and some new bands I wanted to see in NY but missed out on (Antlers, Uglysuit, Oh No Ono, Bear in Heaven).

With that said, I've had my eye on Coachella ever since its lineup was released. I REALLY want to go, and it kind of fits in to my schedule. I should be ending my stay in San Fran by that time and on my way back to NY. The tickets are still on early-bird pricing and the lineup is UNREAL!! However, this is something that I don't want to hit alone. I've mentioned it to a couple of people and there is still some decision making going on. I'm wondering if I should just get a pair of passes now and sell them if I can't find someone(s) to go with me.

This trip has taught me that there are things that are way better to experience when you're on your own (as a matter of perspective, reflection or not having to compromise). And then there are things that would be way better if you had someone to share it with. Coachella would definitely fit in to the latter.

I've also been thinking about Sasquatch (May) or Bonaroo (June), but those will both be happening when I'm back in Calgary, so are less likely to happen. Maybe Sasquatch because it's within driving distance.