Music is alive and well at SXSW 2022, which has already seen hundreds of artists grace the stages across the city. More than 200 musicians on the lineup this year are from Austin, in addition to the dozens of countries represented on stage this year.
These are just a few of the shows we’ve been able to catch so far, but you can catch live music on stages across the city through Monday.
Golden Dawn Arkestra
Colorful, danceable Golden Dawn Arkestra is one of the most unique bands you’ll find in Austin. With sparkling dancers, a huge range of instruments and funky psychedelic sound, the band is inspired by Sun Ra Arkestra’s fanciful visuals. Their song, "Phenomenal," will remind you that you are more than worthy—you're incredible. Be yourself, love those around you and explore the galaxy: that’s the message of Golden Dawn Arkestra.
Chief Cleopatra’s dream-pop R&B is quickly bringing her to the forefront of the local music scene. A lifelong Texan and musician who grew up singing in her church choir, Cleopatra’s genre-bending music tells relatable stories of choosing your friends wisely and new love. Her new EP, “Luna,” is streaming now.
A delightful mixture of Americana, R&B and soul, Jake Lloyd’s Continental Club show attracted a diverse crowd of those young and old. Half of Geto Gala, a project done alongside fellow Austin-based artist Deezie Brown, Jake Lloyd put on an energetic set as he danced for the crowd and did a cover of Cameo’s “Word Up.”
The only non-local artist on our list, New Zealand-born multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Kimbra’s spiritual set was fittingly held in a church. Since Kimbra’s career exploded when she was featured on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” she has continued to shape pop as her own genre. Kimbra performed yet-to-be-released music, using a looper to create the song from the ground up, live.
With an unexpectedly enormous voice, Jade Bird often performs with just herself and an acoustic guitar on stage. The new Austinite shared one stage that SXSW was one of the reasons she fell in love with the city before breaking into a never-before-released song, "Save Your Tears." Her newest album, “Different Kinds of Light,” is streaming now.
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Austin parents and grocery store shelves are feeling the effects of a nationwide baby formula shortage.
Caused mostly by a February recall due to contamination issues, followed by the Abbott Nutrition factory closure in Michigan, the shortage has left Austin shelves barren. However, earlier this week, U.S. officials announced a plan with the facility to restart production.
In the meantime, local parents in crisis have turned toward the Mother’s Milk Bank to keep their babies fed.
HEB on East 7th has been picked clean of formula and is limiting purchases. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The milk bank—which takes donations from lactating mothers and dispenses milk to babies in the NICU—has been helping feed upwards of 30 families in need as the formula supply tightens.
According to the bank’s executive director Kim Updegrove, Mother’s Milk Bank has seen an uptick in calls from parents with healthy babies in need of help since the shortage began.
“We aren't used to hearing from families with healthy infants,” Updegrove said. “They're typically very upset, angry, frustrated, sobbing—it's scary to not be able to feed your infants. So in the past few weeks, those calls have been significantly increasing.”
Mothers are only able to donate if they are within a year postpartum, so Updegrove said they are constantly bringing on and retiring donors. While donors had been on a 30% decline leftover from 2021 when the shortage began, Updegrove said the shortage has led to mass community interest and more than 90 prospective donors in just the past few days.
“We and other milk banks are experiencing significant interest from the community—becoming milk donors and helping to turn around this crisis,” Updegrove said. “Every infant needs to be fed, every one of us can relate to that need, and we need to make sure as a community that it happens.”
Whole Foods downtown was also cleaned out of typical formula. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
While you may still be able to find formula at places like Whole Foods—which currently has goat milk, soy and plant-based formula in stock—Updegrove said it might not be what a baby needs.
Updegrove said it is best to buy types that say “infant formula,” as they are FDA approved and will provide the nutrients, vitamins and minerals a baby needs. Plant-based, homemade, non-cow's milk or diluting formula may not provide the same nutritional value.
As the community navigates the shortage, Updegrove said the most important way to help out is to not panic buy or stockpile.
“This is a crisis for families,” Updegrove said. “This is the time for the community to gather together and figure out what everyone can do to help families with young infants.”
Next time you’re sitting at a red light in Austin, you may look over and see a car without a person at the driver’s wheel.
Autonomous vehicle tech company Argo AI has brought driverless operations to Austin and Miami, starting out with only company employees using the service. Later on, tests with Lyft and Walmart will carry out ride-sharing and grocery delivery services, with the help of a human safety operator. The company has already made moves on this front in Miami Beach where some Lyft passengers have used its autonomous vehicles with a human operator.
While its platform is designed for integration with multiple vehicle types, the test fleet uses the Ford Escape Hybrid and VW's all-electric ID.Buzz.
The Pittsburgh-based company says this progress on its autonomy platform has been more than five years in the making and boasted about reaching this milestone before others.
"Argo is first to go driverless in two major American cities, safely operating amongst heavy traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists in the busiest of neighborhoods," said Bryan Salesky, Founder and CEO of Argo AI.
Expect to see the autonomous cars on the road during daytime business hours as the tech aims to learn from a diversity of road infrastructure and driving behaviors.
The company, which is testing in eight cities in the U.S. and Europe, has brought its tech to Austin as the company looks to expand in densely-populated cities. In particular, Argo is looking at ridesharing, delivery and logistics companies for integrating its autonomous vehicles into their digital services.
Argo anticipates its service availability to someday cover more than 15 million people in Austin, Miami and Washington D.C.
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