Driver Involved in 2014 SXSW Crash Sentenced

More than a year-and-a-half after what happened on the morning of March  13, 2014 at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival, the driver who caused so much pain and hurt has been sentenced. On Friday (Nov. 6), the man on trial, Rashad Owens, learned his fate after a Travis County jury deliberate for three hours. Not surprising, the jury found him guilty of capital murder that resulted in four people losing their lives and 25 others suffering from injuries.

Since the state decided to forgo the death penalty, according to KXAN, Owens was sentenced to automatic life in prison with no chance of parole. The conviction means that Owens can spend anywhere from five to 99 years in prison.

For those not familiar with what happened that fateful morning during the annual festival in downtown Austin, police reportedly noticed a man had pulled into a near-by gas station in a silver Honda in an effort to evade an officer that was working a D.U.I. checkpoint. As it turned out, during the trial, Owens was not only under the influence (.114, over the .08 legal limit), but the silver 2012 Honda Civic that was involved was stolen.

Owens then proceeded to drive the vehicle in the wrong direction on a one-way street, resulting in him going through a previously set up barricade and into a crowd of people. At the time, there was a large gathering of people outside The Mohawk where rapper Tyler, the Creator was slated to perform.

Since the crash, several lawsuits have been filed both in federal and Texas state court. As of last December, a total of seven lawsuits were filed against the festival’s private companies (SXSW Holdings INC. and SXSW LLC), the traffic consulting firm (Traffic Design Consultants, LLC), and the person who headed the project, Patrick Lowe.

Watch Panic! At the Disco Play at a Rodeo

While most of the music world is making a beeline to Austin for South by Southwest with many performers trying to get as many high-profiled gigs at the actual event, it’s nice to see that one of our favorite bands decided to do the complete opposite of that.

Leave it to Panic! at the Disco to decide to give fans a surprise by showing up in the middle of a rodeo to give an “impromptu” concert which featured some of their discography as well as a cover of Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” and AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

We swear, we aren’t making this up.

According to sources who were lucky enough to be at the show, the band came in on, what else, a tractor and gave them all a once-in-a-lifetime show. We say once-in-a-lifetime because we’re sure this is never going to happen again.

Check out some fanshot video, which might not be the best videos in the world, but they get the job done.

Surprisingly, Panic! at the Disco have been quiet for sometime now. The last we heard from the band was actually from frontman Brendon Urie when the “Drunken History of Fall Out Boy” was posted by the band a few months ago.

On the upside, they do have a handful of concerts coming up this year mostly including festivals like Tulsa’s Center of the Universe Festival and Reading and Leeds in the United Kingdom.

Unlocking the Truth Confirm Wanting Out of Record Contract


It’s been over a year since pre-teen rockers, Unlocking the Truth signed a million dollar contract with Sony, and the now-teens have revealed that they are trying to get out of their contract with the media giant.

Over the weekend, the trio were at South By Southwest for the premiere of their documentary Breaking a Monster which told the story of how the band rose from playing the sidewalks of Time Square to performing at Coachella and Vans Warped Tour.

According to Billboard, when they were questioned about the record deal, singer Malcolm Brickhouse had revealed they were currently in the process of having their attorney get them out of said contract.

“Our attorneys are working on our exit from Sony now,” said Brickhouse.

Unlocking the Truth’s attorney, Alan Sacks, then confirmed the news of their desire to get out of the contract, but that they had no other details to give, at least at present time.

Since the group’s initial discovery by Eric Clapton’s drummer, Steve Jordan and contract deal, the teenage boys have yet to release any new music.

Last month, they got a once in a lifetime opportunity when Marilyn Manson invited them on stage to jam out with him during “The Beautiful People” at his Philadelphia “Hell Not Hallelujah” stop.

They will also be playing at Columbus’ annual Rock on the Range music festival during the weekend of May 15-17.

Multiple Lawsuits Filed Against SXSW

South By Southwest is supposed to be a time to let loose and enjoy music, films, and the interactive conferences that are held, but this year’s festivities took a turn for the worse when a drunk idiot tried to evade police at a D.U.I. checkpoint which resulted in him killing several people and injuring dozens more.

Now, almost a year after the horrific incident took place, seven lawsuit have been filed again SXSW by the families of those killed in the fatal crash that took place in the early hours of March 13, 2014 on Red River, according to the Associated Press.

The wrongful death lawsuit have been filed in both federal and Texas state court.

But, the festival and their private companies, SXSW Holdings INC. and SXSW LLC aren’t the only ones being named in the suits, the traffic consulting firm, Traffic Design Consultants, LLC and the person who headed the project, Patrick Lowe, have also been named.

One of the suits claims that the tragedy was “foreseeable and predictable” and that all those involved, especially the festival, ignored safety regulations and industry standards by not using “rigid barriers.”

“A festival organizer or traffic design consultant of ordinary intelligence would have anticipated danger” cites one of the lawsuits.

They also claim that the festival and everyone involved should have anticipated that something would happen due to all the excessive alcohol consumption that was going on. The suit even cited that Austin is the “number one for alcohol consumption in Texas.”

But, it sill does not end there. The lawsuit also says that the festival’s Right-Of-Way permit puts them in “legal possession of the street where the crash occurred.”

“The only way to force a private company like South by Southwest to take action in the future is to hold them accountable for their failures in the past,” states Scott Hendler, the attorney for one of the families.

“Otherwise, there’s no incentive for them to do anything different.”

Lizzy Plug, the wife of one of the first victim’s identified as Steven Craenmehr mirrored her attorney’s sentiment.

“South by Southwest is accountable for this tragedy, in my thoughts.”

In the response to the lawsuit SXSW have released the following statement:

“What happened on Red River was a terrible tragedy, caused by Rashad Owen’s utter disregard of human life. Our hearts continue to ache for those injured and the families of those who lost their lives. We look forward to his prosecution for his awful crimes.”

In September, a report sanctioned by SXSW done by the city of Austin revealed that crowd management issues including traffic congestion attributed to the crash.

The report also revealed that the city might also have some blame because of the overcrowding of venues and the high consumption of alcohol compromised the

Due to the report, the festival has already planned to minimize the amount of unofficial event surrounding them including the FADER Fort and the Hype Hotel. As of now, SXSW is asking for the city to limit the amount of permits distributed for events that require temporary permits.

As for the man behind all of this tragedy, Rashad Owens, he is currently in jail on capital murder charges. He is also being sued by the families.

South By Southwest Reveal Preliminary Musicians List


South by Southwest will be returning to Austin, TX next March, as always, and today the festival has announced the first wave of artists who will be performing at the annual event.

Artists confirmed in the first wave of reveals include: The Dodos, Jessie Ware, The Pop Group, Thee Oh Sees, Carl Barat and The Jackals, Twin Peaks, The Twilight Sad, The Big Pink, Ben Kweller, Mew, Courtney Barnett, Twerps, Black Milk, Bishop Nehru, Alvvays, Pharmakon, Lust For Youth, Dry the River, Hey Marseilles, Moon Duo, The Octopus Project, Sleep ∞ Over, Ume, The Stone Foxes, Jonathan Toubin, Warm Soda, Natural Child, The Lonely Wild, Civil Twilight, Cheerleader, and Angus & Julia Stone.

At the end of the full reveal, there will be over 1,000 acts descending in Austin for SXSW.

SXSW will take place from March 13 to March 22 with the musical portions of the event taking placing from March 17-22. If you’re interested in going, don’t wait too long, badges to attend are currently on sale on the festival’s website.

Lady Gaga Puts on ‘Artful’ Show at SXSW


We all know Lady Gaga has a few screws loose in her head and for the most part, listeners and Little Monsters love her for her unorthodox take on pop stardom, but during her show last night at South By Southwest, things went beyond that.

The pop star was slated to take the stage to perform as one of the shows of the evening at the Doritos #BoldStage and air exclusively on Fuse.

She began the night by coming on stage strapped to a spit over an active grill. The entire time, she performed her opening song while her leather-clad men spun her on the spit. There was also the matter of her long, blonde dreads continuously dancing on the flames below her.

But that wasn’t the most shocking display of the evening; no that came during her song “Swine.” Gaga brought a woman up to the stag who had been drinking an odd colored beverage from a large bottle. As the song began, the lady got closer to the pop star and eventually began to vomit on her, repeatedly. The woman reportedly did it ten times throughout the song.

Yep. Fame is definitely a monster. A really weird, disgusting, puke-y monster. The NSFW video can be seen below so if can’t stomach it, then please don’t watch it, but we’ll leave it here.

Two Dead, 23 Injured in Crash at SXSW



The identity of the two victims as well as the driver of the vehicle have been revealed.

The first victim of the crash this morning was 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr. Craenmehr’s identity had been confirmed by his employer, Massive Music where he worked as a creative director at their Amsterdam office.

The Travis County Medical Examiner identified the other person who died as 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West of Austin. West and her husband, Evan West, were both riding the moped that was struck by the vehicle; he was one of the many that were hospitalized.

As for the driver who caused this complete fiasco, he has been identified as Rashad Charjuan Owens, a 21-year-old from Killeen, Texas. The San Antonio Express-News revealed that he has a hefty criminal record.

In 2010, he was convicted of criminal trespassing in Killeen and then the following year was charged with driving under the influence of marijuana in Fairbanks, Alaska. e was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident which was then dropped. He claimed that he lost control of the SUV he was driving and “drove off because he didn’t know he had to call police.”

More information has also been revealed, including that Owens was set to perform at one of the events scheduled to take place at Club 1808 near Chicon Street and 12th; the crash occurred near East 11th.

Lamar Wilson, a man claiming to be the suspect’s brother, said that Owens was a musician who rapped and produced under the names, KillingAllBeatz or K.A.B254.

As of now, Owens is going to be charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.


South By Southwest is supposed to be a week full of films, music, interactive conferences and fun, but early this morning the situation went turned from enjoyable to deadly.

According to police reports, at around 12:30 a.m., a driver crashed into a group of people who were standing outside the Mohawk at 9th and Red River, killing two and injuring another 23. Of those 23, five of them are reportedly in critical condition.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a press conference that two people who were pronounced dead on the scene; one was a male on a bicycle from the Netherlands and the other was a female riding a moped.

Police reported that the man had pulled into a near-by gas station in his silver Toyota in an effort to evade an officer that was working a D.U.I. checkpoint. He move his vehicle through several parked car and then took off at a high speed in the wrong direction of a one-way street. He then proceeded to turn right on Red River Street, crashing though a previously set up barricade, narrowly missing a police office standing post.

He then went on to hit the moped, a taxi, a van, and other vehicles, as well as pedestrians waiting in front of The Mohawk where Tyler, the Creator was slated to perform, before jumping out of his car and running away. The driver was chased by police and eventually tasered then taken into custody.

The driver is facing two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.

SXSW Release Statement About Early Morning Crash


By now, many media outlets have already reported about the tragedy that took place early this morning at Austin’s South By Southwest Festival. The police department and many artists have taken to the internet to speak out about the tragedy that occurred.

Just a short while ago, organizers behind the annual event released their own statement on behalf of themselves and all the staff about what happened. The statement, though short also revealed that one of the victims was identified as Steven Craenmehr, MassiveMusic’s Amsterdam-based creative director and that all events will still be going as scheduled unless they are told otherwise.

“The SXSW staff is stunned and deeply moved by the events of last night.

Dozens of us were on the scene when the incident occurred and we worked closely with APD to create a perimeter around the area, turning back all the visitors spilling out of the clubs who headed north on Red River Street.

To avoid confusion we plan to carry on with our scheduled daytime events at the Austin Convention Center in order to serve our tens of thousands of participants during this tragic time.

All of the SXSW staff and volunteers reported for their regular duties this morning and will continue working today on the event.

We are contacting all of the venues to find out if they have made any decisions about their operations that might impact our visitors.

Despite all of our preparations for dealing with a major incident during SXSW, nothing could really prepare us for how this feels. As much as we would like to just go home and spend time absorbing the shock of this horrific event, we feel our best use is to continue to operate today.

One of the fatalities was a SXSW registrant, a gentleman from the Netherlands.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and with the families of the fatalities.”

The Mohawk, the venue where the crash occurred in front of, has revealed they will be cancelling all afternoon events while events for this evening are still pending.

Watch Andre 3000 Get in Touch with His Jimi Hendrix


When Andre 3000 (Andre Benjamin) had been chosen to play Jimi Hendrix in the upcoming bio-pics, some were wondering if the OutKast member would be able to take on the role of the iconic musician even though he has had several film credits to his name.

Today, the first official trailer for All is By My Side was released ahead of its South by Southwest premiere. The clip features Benjamin’s Hendrix flirting with Imogen Potts’ Linda Keith who was Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards’ longtime girlfriend. Keith would go on to influence many songs for both Hendrix and Richards.

All is By My Side was written and directed by now Academy Award winner John Ridley and already premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film has already been released in the United Kingdom, but as of now, there is no word on when it will be released in the United States.

Soundgarden to Perform ‘Superunknown’ at U.S. iTunes Festival


Fans of Soundgarden might want to take a trip to Austin, TX during the week of South by Southwest because it has been reported that the grunge band will be performing its hit 1994 album, Superunknown in full during their set.

Superunknown being performed from beginning to end, will be the first time in the history of the band that they do so. The concert will take place at The Moody Theater on March 13 and will be streamed live on iTunes in the U.S. for those not fortunate enough to score tickets to the show.

When Soundgarden announced they might be heading out on tour in 2014, drummer Matt Cameron had said previously he would not be able to since he had prior commitments with his other band, Pearl Jam. Things must have either fallen through or Cameron found a loophole because the sticksman will be joining Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil and Ben Shepherd for the show.

The iTunes Festival performance will also mark the 20th anniversary of Superunknown’s released which would go on to sell nine million copies and hit platinum five times. In honor of the milestone anniversary, a deluxe, expanded version of the album is set to be released in June as well as various versions of the albums, bonus tracks and never-before-seen photographs by Kevin Westerberg.

The band released their last album, King Animal back in November 2012.

As for the iTunes Festival, this is the first year that the festival will take place in the United States. Typically, the festival takes place in England in September, offering free shows from some of music’s biggest stars for an entire month. So far, the situation about tickets has not been released.