I'm sorry. It's that time of year. I'm going to write about South by Southwest.

This will be my third year attending and covering the festival, and I apologize because I've grown a sense of guilt about it. Mocking SXSW is about as common and easy as mocking Coachella or Miley Cyrus. The other thing those three have in common, though, is that they're actually fun if you can manage to not be an eye-rolling, better-than-thou contrarian.

Look, I'm not clueless and neither are most people who go to Austin in March. The festival isn't what it used to be, it's too corporate, it's over-hyped, it's not the real Austin, etc. They're valid issues, but there are valid reasons not to do a lot of fun things. If you have the press pass and/or the financial means, why not? And if you don't, why not pay attention, even peripherally?

Ashley Dean
Ashley Dean

SXSW's music festival is still a great place to find bands. Last year, I caught shows from the Whiskey Shivers and Ringo Deathstarr. In the year since, I brought them both into Second Story Garage. Oddly enough, the first time I ever saw some Colorado bands was at SXSW two years ago. Just following the coverage might give you a handful of new bands to check out.

Austin is weird, as any souvenir T-shirt will tell you, and SXSW acts as an amplifier. The weirdness isn't even coming from locals half the time, for the month of March. Maybe you have to be of a certain age or disposition to enjoy wading through a litter-strewn and crowded Sixth Street, enjoying dancing sousaphone players or dancing skeleton marionettes. That's cool. Enjoy it emanating from your computer screen instead.

This sounds like a pitch, and I guess in a way it is, but mostly it's an argument in favor of chilling out and enjoying something. Maybe SXSW has a confused purpose or significance, but so what? Enjoy the party.

I'll be back at it this year, and by "it" I mean following local bands, discovering new ones, subsisting on beer, eating a lot of pulled pork and not sleeping.

Here's the actual pitch: It's all going on SecondStoryGarage.com, as well as ColoradoDaily.com. Last year's highlights included Big Freedia twerking, The Yawpers' Nate Cook getting a little dark and profane on camera, and me drunkenly talking about pizza. Much like SXSW, it's a messy grab bag of stuff.

Hope you like it, and as always, happy South By.

Contact Ashley Dean at 303-473-1109. On Twitter: twitter.com/AshaleyJill.