You know Viceland as the media outlet that says and does things no one else would dare. It’s got ‘those’ ad campaigns, the ‘how-can-this-not-be-illegal’ subject matters and a following of bright young things. But at SXSW, we got a sense of what Viceland is like as an experience, and more specifically, as a vehicle.
Our first encounter of the Viceland Bus was seeing it on an empty corner of Red River St. We weren’t entirely sure of what it was doing there: Can anyone get on it? What’s on it? Does it move? Where does it go? Can we get free stuff? The next day we returned and managed to board the pimped-out school bus. We walked up to the welcome table of Viceland paraphernalia – branded rolling papers, lighters and badges set expectations of what we might find inside (more free stuff). We were ushered onto the bus by our Viceland friend Inge, who assured us of the plentiful supply of free beer and snacks. With music causing all the right types of vibrations, relaxed SXSWers sipping on beer and generally loving life, it was definitely a welcome rest from venue-hopping. We stayed a while, met some interesting people and filled our pockets with freebies. All in all, we felt good about our bus ride (which for clarification, didn’t move).
Matt O: Later that night, I stopped by the Viceland sponsored show at Mohawk (S/O to Inge once again for getting me in VIP). While checking in, I made friends with a fellow-blogger and spoke briefly with Jay IDK’s manager; it’s always great connecting with new people. As soon as I reached VIP, I ran into a friend of mine from New York City - it’s also great to reconnect with less new people. After we caught up, I went to the closest balcony to watch the show and take some photos. The pit of people in front of the stage was packed out and rowdy; I couldn’t tell you which DJ was on before Jay IDK but they had the place going crazy. It looked like a lot of fun - I would have been in there but of course, I had my camera. I watched a few artists and vibed with a few DJs before heading out for another show.
Nicola: Our next experience was another level up. Inge had worked her magic and got us a ride in a chauffeur-driven Escalade to the 1AM Bounce party hosted by Julz, a 45 minute drive out of Austin. For a festival where the longest you’ll have to walk is 15 minutes, this was a big undertaking. With road beers in hand, we arrived to an actual, real-life ranch. The main area had a wooden building hosting the main party, but with food trucks, a bouncy castle and a decent number of bars spread out over the property, it was transformed into a party playpen. The VIP area was complete with a house, pool and bar that was pretty useful as a place to chill, while trying to avoid falling into the hot tub (a very subtle hole in the ground). But then the Viceland Bus turned up, and so did we. The bus was L.I.T. It got turbo-charged and out came V2.0 – sick DJs, hard liquor and more people than probably should be on a bus, even if it’s stationary. There was also a stuffed (fake?) bear head on the wall that really added to that ‘where the hell am I?’ vibe. Honestly, I think it was the most fun we had all night.
Viceland ran events all week, day and night, both on and off the bus and by all accounts it was one of the places to be this year. They had plenty of artists rolling through for interviews and photos on the roof, exclusive DJ sets and of course, beer and BBQ. We hope to see it sometime sooner than 2018, and perhaps closer to home!
Shout out to Viceland for knowing how to turn transport into a party. Next time, let’s make it a jet.