Every year, hundreds of YEC members head to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest, the annual conference and festival celebrating the convergency of the interactive, film and music industries. This year during SXSW interactive (SXSWi), YEC hosted a 3-day venue experience for members and invited guests. Camp YEC @ SXSW was born.
Right over the bridge from downtown Austin, the YEC team took over Camp Congress and transformed it into Camp YEC for the weekend. Camp YEC then acted as the SXSW headquarters for YEC members during the interactive weekend, and a few members stayed in the airstreams and used it as home base.
Members that stayed on camp included Jake Reisch of Eversound, Ryan Francis of LaunchPad Lab, Glenn Grant of G2 Technology Group, Robby Berthume of Bull & Beard, Lisa Song Sutten of Sin City Cupcakes, Charles Wu of PodPonics, Tim Ray of Carnivore Club, and Joshua Jeffries of Arkin Youngentob Associates, LLC.
Many other YEC members came by throughout the weekend for incredible events. These included a celebrity panel, a tech-focused BBQ, a throwback house party, and a southern-style brunch. YEC member company Hooch powered the entire weekend, with the help of partners Dark Horse Wine, La Marca Prosecco, and Thunderbird. Each of them provided delicious drinks throughout our time in Austin. The weekend was split across the three days, with fun events packed into each one.
Friday: YECxHooch Cocktails & Conversations
Friday's Cocktails and Conversations featured incredible YEC entrepreneurs along with some high-profile speakers. Special guests Gary Vaynerchuk (better known as Gary Vee, serial entrepreneur, 4x NY Times best selling author and international internet personality), DJ Envy (DJ and host of nationally syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club), and Ja Rule (best known as a hip-hop artist and now new to the entrepreneurial world with his talent booking app Fyre) all came to speak as part of a panel focused on the connection between entertainment and entrepreneurship.
As they swapped stories of SXSW and talked through business challenges, members feasted on street tacos and cocktails. Fitting for the exclusive evening, Hooch -- a members-only cocktail society app that gives you one free drink per day, founded by YEC member Jared Christopherson -- served drinks. YEC members: If you sign up with code "yec," you'll get one free drink per day for just $1 for your first month.
Speaking of cocktails, Friday night featured a few themed drinks designed around the crowd. "Burn Rate" centered on tequila and jalapeño, while "Chairman of the Board" was a Texas-whiskey old fashioned.
Saturday Afternoon: YEC Tech BBQ
Saturday afternoon featured a real Texas BBQ, including a slow cooked, live pig roast and grilled chicken provided by Austin Pig Roast. There were also classic BBQ sides including baked beans and cole slaw -- not to mention an amazing mac and cheese bar -- provided by Dagar's Catering. Cocktails for the night included a "Tech Smash" maple whiskey drink, and the "Accelerator," which featured vodka, pineapple and candied ginger. Members hung out throughout the campgrounds and chatted about the weekend and their businesses.
YEC member companies Andela (founded by Jeremy Johnson) and G2 Technology Group (founded by Glenn Grant) partnered with us on this YEC Tech BBQ, offering office hours and consultations for members interested in learning how to pump up the technology side of their business.
Throughout the BBQ, members were serenaded by live music. The Washboard Tie Guy played a jam of both old and new covers, to the enjoyment of the crowd.
Saturday Evening: YEC House Party
Later that evening, even more YEC members descended upon Camp YEC for the YEC House Party. Throwing it back to true house party style, members sipped from red solo cups and food for the night included Home Slice Pizza's, featuring cheese and all of the best toppings to choose from. Another throwback: The Jungle Juice (which we affectionately named "The Unicorn.")
Members talked and danced while the DJ played, making new connections and catching up with old friends.
Sunday: YEC Founders Brunch
The next morning, YEC members emerged from their airstreams -- or uber'd over the bridge -- to enjoy a French toast bar with fruit toppings, whipped cream and delicious syrup options along with a Texas Benedict station that included breakfast biscuits, egg and hollandaise sauce, and pulled brisket or green chile pork.
Our partners at La Marca Prosecco provided a mimosa bar -- including their mini bottles in the mix -- which was perfect for brunch and so much more. For those who didn't want mimosas, there was a spiked rosé sangria and a "PTO Paloma" with tequila, grapefruit and lime. YEC member company and co-host Saatva (founded by Ricky Joshi) also helped make the event a success.
Members gathered to chat around the fire, participate in Saatva's breakfast in bed themed photo booth, and relax in the outdoor media pit, which was equipped with a full audio and visual system. Kegs filled with YEC member company beer Guns & Oil (a brewery founded by YEC member Cary Prewitt) gave members who wanted more than a mimosa or cocktail another option.
If you missed it, don't worry. We'll be back at SXSW next year, and holding events throughout the country in the meantime. Learn when we'll be in your city at events.yec.co.