The second night of Austin’s South By Southwest music conference was marred early Thursday morning by a tragic accident that left two dead and 23 more people injured, but for most people, the rest of the festival carried on as business as usual.
The car accident that occurred around 12:30 a.m. early this morning outside of the Mohawk — a venue located on Red River Street, in a part of downtown that’s high on traffic even without a sprawling multi-faceted festival on its hands — cast a gloomy shadow on the city as word of the incident spread on social media.
“I checked into the Mohawk on Facebook last night but left before the accident,” said Leyla Lacheri, a festival attendee who was visiting from New York but originally hails from Austin, where she was a member of the city’s tight-knit music community. “When I woke up, I had like 200 messages from people wondering if I was okay.”
“It’s crazy,” said Elise Lindstrand, another longtime Austinite. “I was there with a bunch of friends right before it happened, and all these people started calling and texting me right after it happened. Everyone I know here was freaking out, making sure everyone they know is okay.” (One of the two fatalities has been identified as an Austin resident; the other was visiting from the Netherlands. Among the injured were people from a variety of cities.)