Festival Tips

Festival Tips

We’ve posted some SX tips before on surviving a week of hard partyin’, a guide to throwing the best unofficial SX event and ideas for navigating the streets of Southby by foot, bike, train or cab. We thought we’d ask some SX vets via Twitter for their advice on how to make the most of your time in Austin.

Below are a few favorite suggestions for making the most of SX 2014.

1) Don’t miss out on tacos and celebrities… and tacos served by celebrities.

A major appeal of SX is the sheer volume of events going on at one time. You never know what to expect at any given party. Everyone still talks about the time Bill Murray served as bartender at Shangri-La. While celeb chasing isn’t at all what SX is about, don’t be surprised to see members of your favorite band next to you in line for a taco.

2) Make friends with locals.

Before March, prep for the fest before by checking out r/Austin, the SXSW Baby message board (one of OG sources for all things SX), go to one of the many official SX interactive meet-ups in cities (ATX, NYC, Bay Area, Vegas, Houston, San Antonio) across the US, joining a SX group on Facebook or follow these SX/Austin-related Twitter accounts.

Sites like Thrillist and Localeur all have recommendations on things to do, places to eat and what to see. While you’re here, talk to people at coffee shops, restaurants, bars or in line at parties about where to go/what to see. Some may tell you not to move here, but the welcoming nature and charm of Texans is pretty true – and just about everyone has an opinion on the best BBQ – all it takes is asking.

3) Be nice. 

It can get frustrating when you’re trying to have a good time, but end up standing in endless lines all day. Being nice to those around you, especially people working events, can really make the experience much more enjoyable. Just about everyone has a story about getting into an event by being nice to a door guy. Also: remember – while drinks are free, you should always tip your bartender.

4) Take precautions to not get yourself (or your stuff) lost.

You should probably install Find my iPhone now too.

5) Comfort is key.

Austin weather can change quickly — even in March, it can get cold — wear layers. Another motto of SX: Always Be Charging. Bring a phone charger with you or get a portable charger (our favorite is the Mophie). Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be walking a lot.

 6) Go with the flow and go out alone.

One issue that happens every SX is the problem of trying to meet up with a large group of friends – there’s so much going on at once, there’s lines to events, some friends won’t RSVP, some friends will have a badge, others won’t. Some of the best SX experiences can come with ditching the entourage for getting a spot up close for a band you love.

Along with going out alone comes being flexible with your plans. Not getting into a party? Too long of a line? Go elsewhere. Chances are the band you’re trying to see is playing again somewhere else during the week. If you’re using RSVPster to figure out your SX schedule, remember that we can’t guarantee entry into any event – being flexible and figuring out alternatives is always the best strategy for having a good time.

7) Go legit.

While not everyone has the time or ability to volunteer, many of those who have in the past say it’s a good experience – especially if you’re a college student. The registration to volunteer for SXSW 2014 is now open if you’re interested in working for the festival. Getting a badge is also recommended – yes, you can do the fest free, but having a badge is a completely different experience. If you (or your job!) can swing it, having a badge and attending the sessions offered by the conference and the official showcases is well worth the cost. Prices for badges increase as the fest gets closer, you can buy online here.

What are we missing? Tell us on Twitter. Want help on RSVPing to all the unofficial SXSW events? Order now.