By Matthew Ismael Ruiz
Among awards shows, the mtvU Woodie Awards are a peculiar affair. With no star-studded red carpet or mainstream media attention, the show is typically held in a medium-sized ballroom in Manhattan and lost in the shuffle of the 8 million other things happening in New York City.
This year MTV traded the city that never sleeps for the comparable insanity of South By Southwest, the massive festival that overtakes Austin, TX, for a week in March. Expanded from a single show into what is in effect a festival-within-a-festival, the awards show included performances from Childish Gambino, Iggy Azalea, and the 1975, and was preceded by a daytime lineup featuring Disclosure collaborators Sam Smith and London Grammar, as well as Vic Mensa, Bleachers, American Authors, and Wild Cub.
Though the show that aired Sunday night (March 16) was pre-recorded, the sound was impeccable live. In line with the show’s tagline: “music college students love”, the crowd skewed towards the target demo were too young to drink, but old enough to reject some of the more mainstream pop acts in favor of something a little—and only a little—less ubiquitous. They spent the night washing down peanut butter cups with soda from sponsors Reese’s and Pepsi, genuinely pumped to be in a converted gravel lot in downtown Austin.