At South by South West, the whole day is filled with day parties and panels with night time hosting the showcases. By 2 AM, showcases are finished up and attendees go home to rest up for the next day. While many go to re-up, others head over to after parties after a long day of work and attending events. The Illmore is the after party that artists head to after their shows, whether to perform, have fun with the attendees, or to just relax in the VIP section. Illroots and ScoreMore Shows teamed up to create the Illmore, which takes place for four nights at SXSW starting at midnight and ending at 5:30 in the morning. Although there is a set line-up announced for each day, there are several surprise guests who join in. The first two nights had Big Sean, Travis Scott, Casey Veggies, Steve Aoki, Dom Kennedy and Future. The last two nights were almost legendary.
Not everyone can get into the mansion party, but there is a chance to be able to snag a wristband for at least one day. In order to receive access for wristband pick up location, potential attendees must RSVP online. When the RSVP link live, the website crashed because over 10,000 people were attempting to sign up.
The first two days of wristband pick up were at the American Legion House. Assuming that the third day location would be the same, there was a line at there before the daily notification went out. By 8 PM, no email was sent and there was a mob hoping to get into the Illmore that night.
When officials heard about the chaos, they changed the location of the wrist band pick up, but kept it a secret. People left the line and headed over to numerous locations downtown and all over Austin to find wristbands. At 10:30 PM, a line began to form at Millennium, which is a youth entertainment complex and the location of the Illmore. By 11 PM, there were tables set up for wristband distribution, but you have to be on the list and 21 and over to get in. Feeling the anxiety of gaining access mixed with the cold weather, those in the crowd became restless. At 12 AM sharp, we received wristbands and finally made it into the after party of SXSW.
Once I walked in, I did not know what to do next. There was a bowling alley, arcade, lounge area, open bar, and the stage. I went straight to the stage to secure my spot before the rest of the crowd came in. A few of my friends decided to enjoy free bowling and unexpectedly were in the lane right next to Mac Miller and Schoolboy Q, who were having a blast. Respectfully, the attendees of Illmore did not bombard them with pictures an autographs.
We took pictures at the Beats by Dre photo booth, which was by the stage, to document our memories!
At 1 AM, the first act arrived on stage, Collie Buddz, who is a reggae rapper from New Orleans, Louisiana. Afterwards, Houston’s own, Riff Raff took the stage to perform some of his songs. Riff Raff then brought out Far East Movement to perform with him! The surprise guests had the audience pumped and crowd surfed.
Houston rapper, Trae tha Truth, came on stage to perform his hit “Getting Paid” and proceeded to bring out the Houston legend, Bun B. Performing “International Players Anthem” and “Big Pimpin”, Bun B had the audience singing word for word to his entire performance.
Producer Mike Will Made It showed up as well!
After that, one of the headliners of the show, the A$AP Mob came to party with us!
Surprise performer, YG, came out and brought out Schoolboy Q to perform their collaboration, “I Just Wanna Party”.
Skrillex then came on to DJ for us and then Wiz Khalifa and Taylor Gang closed out the third night of the Illmore!
Due to the chaos for wristbands the previous day, these signs were put up all over the place.
The fourth and final day of The Illmore had headliners listed as “YMCMB”. It was known that Lil Wayne was in town, but the chances of him showing up were 50/50. Deciding to try our luck, we headed to Millennium again at 11 PM and the set up was the same as last night. We got into the venue a little after midnight and went straight to the stage. There was a mob of people outside the venue all night hoping to see Lil Wayne, but capacity had been reached. The DJ was playing songs for a longer period of time and I was tired from the night before, so I found a place by the side of the stage and sat down with a few of my friends at 3 AM. Vic Mensa took the stage to perform, while we sat anxiously waiting for the final act. Suddenly, my friends screamed “Lil Wayne is here!” I turned around and saw him walking in from side stage to back stage, so I ran back into the crowd. At this point, everyone was tired, sweating, and clustered together.
Young Jeezy and DJ Drama made an unexpected appearance and hyped up the tired crowd.
Finally, members of YMCMB graced the stage at 4:30 AM! Shanell, Chanel West Coast, Mack Maine, Gudda Gudda, Cortez Bryant, and Lil Twist performed a couple songs each.
During Shanell’s performance, Lil Wayne hopped on stage and danced around until the song was finished, but the crowd had already spotted him and went crazy. He came to greet us and brought out Young Thug to perform “I’m a Stoner” and “Danny Glover”. He then performed his own songs such as “No Worries” while Birdman came to join him. While performing “Rich”, Wayne looked at the side of the stage hoping for 2 Chainz to show up, but he decided not to join Wayne and remained backstage. That did not impact Weezy’s mood though! When the DJ played”Tap Out”, Lil Wayne said “I don’t know this! I don’t know this!” The audience knew every word and the DJ let it play anyway.
The show ended with all of YMCMB leaving the stage and thanking us for coming out. We all then headed to get water and left The Illmore to go back to reality.
Check out posts sharing my experience at SXSW 2014!