SXSWorld May 2014


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6 S X S W O R L D / M A Y 2 0 1 4 SXSW Red River Victims Remembered, Help Still Needed by Michael Corcoran I was two blocks away" and "We were outside the Mohawk just 15 minutes earlier" were posts I kept seeing variations of in the early morning of ursday, March 14. In 27 years of SXSW, no one had died. But due to an insanely selfish act that lasted less than a minute, four people with different back- grounds, coming together on Red River Street to hear the music and feed off the energy lost their lives, and 19 more were hospitalized. It could have been any of us, but it was Steven Craenmehr, 35 and Jamie West, 27, who were pronounced dead at the scene. Sandy Le, 26, would die four days later from her injuries, and DeAndre Tatum, 18, would pass away two weeks after the incident that ripped our hearts. e night of Wednesday, March 13 had been one of the happiest I've ever spent at SXSW. Margaret Moser hosted the Austin Music Awards for the 31st and final time, and every Austin musician, DJ, writer, clubowner and manager not working turned out for a true Austin music family reunion. I got out in the fresh air outside the Austin Convention Center at about midnight and decided to walk as far as I could before hopping in a pedicab. But strolling with my son felt so good, we just kept going all the way home. On the way, a couple of cop cars screeched past with lights going crazy and then an ambulance. "Hope it's nothing bad," I said. SXSW is people from all over the world with diverse experiences coming together to discover what they have in common. ey roam the streets in search of music that's going to make them feel most alive. Some of us had done that every March since 1987. e SXSW experi- ence became an almost sacred part of being an Austinite, and that was violated at about 12:30am on March 14. Daniel Nortcutt was manning a food booth at the Mohawk when he ran outside to see what all the screaming was about. "e only thing going through the minds of any of the first responders was 'help these people,' " said Nortcutt, who owns the Frank gourmet hot dog restaurant. On Frank's outside wall is a mural that changes on the first of every month, and on March 31, Frank Public Art unveiled a work by local artist Frederico Archuleta that addressed the SXSW tragedy depicting a pair of helping hands with a message in wristbands. On the right wrist were the words "help heal the hurt" and on the left wrist were bands bearing the names DeAndre, Sandy, Steven and Jamie. At the unveiling, Northcutt wept. "at's when it hit me, what happened" he said. "When I saw the names, my emotions took over." Grief is on its own timetable. ey were a couple who moved to Austin together to start their mar - ried lives, a pair of high school sweethearts who took a road trip from Fort Worth, a young woman who moved here from Mississippi to finish her studies at the University of Texas, and a new father from Amsterdam whose career in the music business was really starting to take off. Jamie, DeAndre, Sandy, Steven: four people, so loved, who had lives of such promise ahead. • Steven Craenmehr was the creative director of MassiveMusic, a leading European music agency based in Amsterdam with offices world- wide. With a natural talent for linking people who could help each other, Craenmehr was the sort of connected international businessman M I C H A E L C O R C O R A N

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