It’s that time of the year again! South by Southwest—better known as SXSW—is upon us. Whether you’re a first-time goer or a returning fan, here’s a list of local artists trekking to Austin, artists of interest that will be attending, where to find free shows and tips on how to get the most of your SXSW experience. Survival tips for SXSW:
ParkWhiz is a helpful app that will help you find the best parking spots available in Austin. Prices typically range from $5-$20 and go by hourly or daily rates. Some parking spots offer self-parking or valet service. Users are able to reserve their parking spots a few days before attending the festival to ensure they get the parking they want. ParkWhiz has a website and an an app available for download.
Bringing a backpack to any festival is essential, especially one that is hard for pick-pockets to get into. Pockets are not big enough to carry what you need and handbags will get annoying when you’re jumping around at shows.
Most ATM’s charge a fee to withdraw money, so bring cash prior to setting out on your road trip. Also, don’t bring your entire wallet – an I.D., card and cash will be all you need.
Generally, the weather is sunny and hot during spring break. Bring sunscreen to avoid getting awkward tan lines and a refillable water bottle—CamelBak if you have it—to prevent you from passing out from heatstroke.
Everyone knows your phone is going to die before you even leave your first show. Pack a reliable portable charger for your Snapchatting needs.
Remember to feed yourself—stopping at Voodoo Doughnut does not equal a meal. SouthBites Trailer Park offers a variety of food trucks that provide quality food at a decent price. Food trucks that will be at this year’s SXSW can be found at sxsw.com/exhibitions/southbites. Pack a few snacks that won’t melt in your backpack such as granola bars, fruit snacks and trail mix to keep you energized and help you avoid pricey fast food.
If you end up partying a little too hard and decide you’d rather stay in Austin for the night, have no fear. Hotels want to fill as many rooms as they can—that includes knocking down prices dramatically after hours. A room that would have cost $150 could have its price slashed to $70 by the time 9 p.m. rolls around. If worse comes to worse, you can always Uber to the neighboring cities’ hotels if there’s nothing available in Austin. It’s better than driving drunk, and risk getting a DWI or worse.
I cannot stress this enough: dress comfortably. Wearing the right shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty makes all the difference in your SXSW experience. There’s going to be plenty of walking involved and the last thing you want are sore feet. You can be a baddie, but be a comfortable baddie.
People pushing flyers onto every passersby can get annoying, but grab every piece of paper you can. Half of the flyers are ads, but the other half are filled with information about which free shows will be put on by popular artists.
Pack a light blanket. This is a weird piece of advice, but you might find yourself camping out on a grassy area for a couple hours to see a headliner play. Lay out the blanket on the spot you want in the crowd so you can sit and wait out the terrible opener that’s currently on stage.
Take advantage of the Capital Metro Transit. SXSW is spread out across Austin, so you will feel as if you are walking 1,000 miles. Purchasing a ticket for the day will save you from dragging your feet from one side of the city to the other. Download the CapMetro App available for Android, Apple and Windows. This app allows you to purchase and manage your passes and lets you know what time the bus will be arriving.
Go with the right people, budget and stay hydrated. May your SXSW experience be one to remember