It looks like a few of my friends will be attending their first SXSW. I have decided to give you a list of things that have helped me have a successful week at the festival.
1. Have an itinerary BEFORE you get there
SXSW is full of distractions you can spend a day in the Austin Convention Center getting free stuff or the whole week at random bars all over Austin and never see a single concert or film. Focus on why you are there or you may end up at a venue watching a group that looks like Millie Vanilli for 3 hours, because the place has outlets to charge your phones. See my itinerary below from last year.
2. Pack Properly
You will NEED a power bank for your phone. I would get one that has over 11,000 milliamps it should be able to charge your phone twice FULLY a day without help. Other items you will NEED: Water (or water bottle to refill), hand sanitizer, gum, earplugs (unless you want to lose your eardrums waiting for the next performer), flushable wipes (because bathrooms are not always pleasant), lotion, maybe a rain poncho, COMFORTABLE SHOES (that you can get dirty), a mirror and something to put this all in.
3. RSVP to everything
If you haven't done that... shows may be slim for you. The next tip will help you with RSVPing.
4. GET ON TWITTER
SXSW is all about twitter. I'm sorry to say it but it is, you will find out shows happening in real time on there throughout the week, If you search through common hashtags you will find out EVERYTHING going on at once EVERYWHERE. Follow these on twitter. #SXSW #SXSW17 #SXWin #SXSWRSVP #SXSW(insert favorite artist) @FreeatSXSW @MissKrisSxSW @southbyYES @ChrisKeegan @SXSWMF this should be your Tweetdeck:
How Concerts Lines Work:
Concerts lines usually go like this: 1st tier to get inside badge holders --> 2nd tier to get inside wristband holders --> 3rd tier to get inside others (if you are an "other" get in line early!!)
I have been to a ton of shows that were at capacity real fast so 3rd tier will be the first group to not be admitted at all to certain shows also, some concerts will make you pay cover for not having a badge or wristband.
5. Get a separate Email for SXSW
If you plan to attend in the future get an Email just for SXSW. Companies you RSVP to will use your emails to market throughout the year AND auto-RSVP you to next years events.
6. Don't get trashed too early PACE YOURSELF
I spend the first day finding out where all the free food/drinks are and getting my extra wristbands for special events like, The Spotify House, Pandora, Spin Magazine, House of Vans, Boiler Room ect. Those wristbands you have to get in the afternoon, in order to enter the concerts later that night. GET ALL THE WRISTBANDS EARLY. You can't decide to go to a concert at 7:30pm that you never picked up the wristband for. Most events stop giving out wristbands around 6pm Tuesday-Friday (and there will be a line for those). Peep the Bandage below:
Pace yourself AGAIN!
SXSW is not for the faint of heart, unless you went there to chill. If you are like me and you want to see a bunch of stuff, pace your drinking and extra curricular activities because most concerts will start at 10:30AM and I have been to after parties/concerts at SX that were still going at 6am, THE NEXT DAY.
7. Stay with a small group
SXSW with 3 people or less is optimal. It is very difficult to hit exclusive parties or even sit at bars with a large group. Larger groups also move slower than being solo and won't sway your intended SXSW experience.
8. Don't hand out too much merch/CDs and marketing
If you are an artist I would limit your music and marketing to those you had real conversations with. There are a lot of artists and industry people already at SXSW you would probably end up "preaching to the choir" AKA you can't make fans out of other rappers. SAVE YOUR MONEY.
9. Visit the SXSW site or download the App
Even if you are not getting an official wristband/badge. you can still use the perks and information on the site. Information will include things like....Where do you find free transportation? Where to find free food? Where will official showcases for (insert favorite artist) be taking place? The free rides this year around SXSW will be provided by Mazda click the picture below for more information.
10. Have fun!
I may seem like a Debbie downer in this post, but I want to keep you safe and informed. Email me for any questions.