Lyft House SXSW

 Custom Lyft VW bus happy to be in its new Austin home. Photo courtesy: Marshall Birnbaum, Via Domani

Custom Lyft VW bus happy to be in its new Austin home. Photo courtesy: Marshall Birnbaum, Via Domani

OpenNest and Lyft’s shared mission to build community, celebrate creativity and reconnect people to one another through shared experiences was fully realized this weekend at the Lyft House at SXSW in Austin, TX. Lyft’s Round Up & Donate initiative was a key pillar of the Lyft House, aligning with the values of the community in support of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. HAAM provides access to affordable health care for Austin’s low-income, working musicians with a focus on prevention and wellness. Guests were encouraged to opt-in to the Round Up & Donate program in the 'Settings' tab of the Lyft app. The amount of opt ins benefiting HAAM, tripled over the course of Lyft House weekend - with more Lyft rides taken during the two-day experience than any other brand activations during SXSW!  

 Art cars lined up in front of Native Hostel. Photo courtesy: Marshall Birnbaum, Via Domani

Art cars lined up in front of Native Hostel. Photo courtesy: Marshall Birnbaum, Via Domani

OpenNest helped to bring the Lyft House to life, in a unique collaboration with Native Hostel, one of Austin’s newest east side venues. The teams collectively set out to ‘bring South by Southwest back to Austin.’ Lyft House’s two story lounge buzzed with all sorts of local flavor throughout the two-day takeover. Local Austin musicians, painters, artists, yogi’s and sound bath practitioners came together to share a fully immersive, collective experience authentically suited to the Live Music Capital of the World. 

 The Bishops performed an intimate set during Saturday's Happy Hour. Photo courtesy: Kyle Gonzales

The Bishops performed an intimate set during Saturday's Happy Hour. Photo courtesy: Kyle Gonzales

 In Native’s upstairs Romper Room, bunk beds typically reserved for hostel visitors were transformed into ‘nap pods’ for tired attendees to catch a few Z’s, while complimentary morning yoga classes and sound baths relaxed, refreshed and recharged guests South By experience. Afternoon happy hours provided delicious Texan style tacos and BBQ, while guests enjoyed free drinks complimented by stripped down, intimate acoustic shows from local acts - Derrick Davis, Mobley and The Bishops. Lines formed around the block both Friday and Saturday, as everyone wanted to be part of the Lyft House vibe. 

 MariClaire, lead singer for Shy Beast, put on an incredible show at the Lyft House. Photo courtesy: Kyle Gonzales

MariClaire, lead singer for Shy Beast, put on an incredible show at the Lyft House. Photo courtesy: Kyle Gonzales

 Die hard fans showed up in the late afternoon (with some even attempting to hide in the venue’s bathroom) to make sure they wouldn't miss the stacked evening showcases. Indie-folk band, Dawn & Hawkes, kicked off Friday’s official SXSW showcase, followed by singer-songwriter, Molly Burch, who graced the crowd with her unique style and lyrics. Indie-rockstar, Ben Kweller, closed the night with an exclusive performance, sharing new music from his upcoming album. Saturday’s dance party packed the House, with indie-pop band Shy Beast starting the evening off right, followed by house band CAPYAC, hip-hop act Riders Against the Storm, and Golden Dawn Arkestra headlining an incredible psychedelic afrobeat performance. 

 Photo courtesy: Kyle Gonzales

Photo courtesy: Kyle Gonzales

Seeking to inspire and engage with Austin's vibrant local creative community, the venue transitioned into a community art meet up, featuring a live painting by Austin’s talented team at Watson Murals who brought this Lyft bus to life during Mobley's Happy Hour set on Saturday afternoon.

 Aralyn Hughes. Photo courtesy: Marshall Birnbaum, Via Domani

Aralyn Hughes. Photo courtesy: Marshall Birnbaum, Via Domani

Austin's “Queen of Weird," Aralyn Hughes, an icon of the local creative community presented a tour of seven fellow art car artists. The cars lended themselves beautifully to Native’s outdoor space and gave those waiting in line a truly unique sight to see. 
 
Based on Lyft’s 2018 Economic Report, Lyft passengers raised $3 million for 13 causes, from supplying meals to helping provide hurricane relief, by tapping ‘Round Up & Donate,’ in the app. To learn more about Lyft’s Round Up & Donate program, check out all the Lyft supported causes HERE

Words by Katie Kilbride & Nissa Rhodes

Katie KilbrideComment