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10 Best Moments Salvaged From SXSW's Bloat

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Some of the worst predictions for SXSW's Music portion this year came true, but I'm not complaining.

As Jason Notte lamented in his March 14 article the event has clearly become overly commercialized and, as a result, fairly predictable. Far too many business cards. Far too few truly new ideas.

But at the same time, within that rather lame framework were scattered a thousand surprises, moments that, if they didn't take your breath away, at least sustained your interest and gave you reason to continue trudging sleepless through the tattooed streets of Austin at midnight, looking for another happy fix.

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The 24-hour cycle of camaraderie alone was worth the trip. Most of the folks you ran into were either festival participants or Austin locals who recognized that your bemused tourist stare meant money in local coffers. In both cases, they were happy to talk, to share a moment of silliness or a beer and talk about your favorite band.

Most of what we needed to see, hear and taste was within a couple dozen blocks' radius of the downtown Convention Center, seen above from my hotel room window. A light rail, bicycle and auto taxis were there to haul you around if you didn't feel like hoofing it. I spent a lot of time walking those streets, usually at something close to a run, and my legs were sore for days after.

In the following pictures, you'll have the opportunity to observe what Notte terms the "total victory of commerce over creativity." But I hope also you'll also find reason to wish you had been there.

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