Editor’s Note: It’s been two weeks and we’re still attempting to gather our thoughts on SXSW 2012. From the food to the parties and shows, everything seemed like a blur while we were in Austin and finally started coming into focus as recently as Thursday of this week. Here’s Brando’s epilogue on the 2012 year, inviting all music lovers to make the pilgrimage to Austin in 2013.

And so it ended, with a punch to the face and a brawl in the midst of an A$AP Rocky party.

We would have a better summation of all we saw at SXSW 2012 from the tech conferences to the panelists to the mayhem that is Sixth Street but it pales in comparison to the absolute nirvana that is wandering from bar to bar and finding complete strangers vibing to music they may have recently discovered twenty four hours ago.

The people, not the bands, sponsors or venues make SXSW a premiere spring break and music destination. It was evident from the raucous crowd at the Red Bull Thre3style event (pictured above) to the crowd that gathered inside of the FADER Fort for four days to witness their own sense of belonging. For there were moments inside of Austin’s biggest export to the world that may go down as quite interesting and far too memorable not to document.

Our third trip came with more rewards than the previous two. Sure, we probably ate too much pizza, downed more than our fair share of alcohol and partied with the locals but aside from the music – the point of SXSW is to make memories, right?

In a week’s time, hip-hop which was long considered a distant cousin that was kept at arms reached for this particular festival – headlined it. Jay-Z opened on Monday night with a selective performance and ended with Nas participating in the now welcomed trend of legendary artists becoming nostalgic and performing seminal albums in their extensive catalogs. Somewhere in between, Kanye West made a surprise appearance, 50 Cent & Eminem made certain we remembered 2003 as the Year Of 50 and somehow – Bruce Springsteen & Lionel Ritchie ensured that the music still remained the same.

We discovered Kids These Days, a Chicago based group with more old school soul, how Gary Clark Jr. could vibe out in a crowded Austin rock landscape. Somewhere in this discovery, we made friends and saw how an artist could go from being a virtual unknown at SXSW a year before to headlining one of the more major showcases.

We were treated to a DJ set from Jazzy Jeff himself, a melting pot of dubstep, hip-hop and classic R&B along with a few TV themes thrown in (“Charlie Brown”). The Shins, an indie darling once upon a time ago engaged in a rather intimate set. Same for Norah Jones and Skrillex who had already turned everything on its ear the moment he got behind a laptop. Even Victor Cruz, seemingly full of life even after winning a Super Bowl with the New York Giants found time to party on stage with Slaughterhouse at two separate events.

SXSW truly was an experience, one that captivates every walk of musical life from fledging artist to being completely on top sans peer. In between you get to learn about the city, yourself and maybe wind up with a story to tell your grandkids. As the event grows, it still maintains the sentiments you wish any music festival would.

“You really have to be here to understand how great it truly is.”

MARCH 15TH: #DeWeezy, Warner Sound & More
MARCH 16TH: VIBE House – Day One
MARCH 16TH: Shady 2.0 Showcase
MARCH 17TH: Nas @ ACL Live

2 Chainz & Big Sean Bring Out Kanye West | Watch
Steve Aoki, Lil Jon & The Illmore | Watch
Snoop Dogg Performs “Gin & Juice” At The VIBE House | Watch
Nas Performs “Made You Look” At Illmatic VEVO Show | Watch