It’s that time of year again! In exactly ten days, masses of people all across the country are going to flock to my hometown of Austin, TX for the madness that is South By South West. Trying to find a hotel? Good luck. Want to get where you are going on time? Sorry, no. We embrace all of this, however, because it means that there is going to be an abundance of music, film, gear and technology expos, and an overall crazy, fun time downtown from March 13th-22nd. As an Austin native and as one who has attended for the last four years, there are some things to know and be aware of before you venture out:
1. Get there EARLY!
Parking in Austin is already a stressful ordeal, but during SXSW, it’s well nigh impossible. If you must drive yourself and park, be sure to get downtown way before the event you want to attend and be willing to walk a bit from where you parked. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Have the right GEAR.
-Walking/Running shoes are a must. No heels/flip flops/cowboy boots
-Sunglasses: Lots of shows and events are outdoors and many has been the time that I was thankful for a tinted spectacles or a hat to block out that relentless Texas sun
-Water: If you can manage to carry around a water bottle or some kind of drinking vessel, do it. Depending on the year, it gets really hot walking around the Austin streets and those vendors are going to gouge you for the privilege of being hydrated.
-Cash: I know, who carries cash anymore? However in this instance, it’s the safer bet to just have the paper on you rather than rely on the plastic. Parking, food vendors, drink vendors, and band merch will not all have the ability to swipe a Visa, but I guarantee you they won’t turn down Mr. Jackson.
3. Have a Plan.
The first couple years that I went to SXSW, I decided I would just wing it and see whoever I happened upon. I spent a lot of time just wandering with no direction, so knowing who is playing where is definitely to your advantage. I usually don’t buy a wristband, but for many of these shows, you will need one. Certain venues (like Buffalo Billiards and many of the 6th street bars) won’t require a wristband. To help you out, I have crafted a list of notable artists and the days that they are playing! You can head to SXSW.com to craft you own schedule too.
AWOLNATION (Alternative): Thursday March 19th from 11:00p.m. – 12:15a.m. at ACL Live Moody Theatre
Agrophobia (Rock): Thursday March 19th from 10:00p.m. to 10:40p.m. at Javelina
Big Data (Electronic Rock): Wednesday March 18th from 10:00p.m-10:40p.m. at the Parish
Shadow of Whales (Alternative Rock): Thursday March 19th at the 311 Club
Bleachers (Alternative Rock): TBA
Cancer Bats (Metal): Thursday March 19th from 11:40p.m. -12:30a.m. at the Dirty Dog
Highly Suspect (Punk): Wednesday March 18th from 10:00 p.m.- 10:40p.m. at The Trophy Club
Milky Chance (Folk): Thursday March 19th at 12:30 a.m. at Stubb’s
The Mowgli’s (Alternative): Wednesday March 18th at Buffalo Billiards
O Conqueror (Rock): Thursday March 19th from 1:00a.m.-1:50a.m. at 18th floor at Hilton Garden Inn
Plain White T’s (Yes, they are still a band): Wednesday March 18th from 1:00am-1:50am at Red Eyed Fly
Quiet Company (Alternative Rock): Thursday March 19th from 12:00a.m.-12:40a.m. at the Red Eyed Fly
Spoon (Rock): Thursday March 19th from 8:00p.m.-9:30p.m. at Auditorium Shores
Not in the Face (Rock): Saturday March 21st from 100a.m.-1:50a.m. at Holy Mountain Backyard
4. Be Flexible!
Chances are, you won’t get to do everything that you planned, but half the fun of the festival is happening upon a band, speaker, showcase, or expo that you had no idea know about!
5. Keep a hard copy of your schedule.
When your phone dies, you’ll need that.
6. Don’t forget to RSVP
Often, that is the only way to get into certain shows. If you don’t RSVP early, you may lose your chance to see your favorite band, so make sure to check online!
Have fun and happy adventuring!