SXSW is easily one of the most exciting weeks of the year in Austin. However, it can also be loud and confusing, making it very important to plan ahead. If you’re well prepared, you’ll have no problem catching all – or at least most – of the sets, shows, films, and speakers you want. It will also be easier to meet up with friends or colleagues if you know where you’ll be and when you’ll be there. To help out, here are our tips for surviving SXSW 2015. This blog is part two of our four-part SXSW blog series that will span throughout February, with one blog going up each week. If you missed it, part one covered the history of the festival.
Get the app – SXSW Go
The benefits? The app allows you to build your own schedule directly on your phone. You can visually explore what’s going on at the festival and browse the lineups. Perhaps the greatest draw is being able to view day-by-day schedules using custom filters of content you want to see. If you’re looking to meet up with some friends, you can also share your schedule and view theirs, making meeting up very easy.
Downtown becomes a madhouse during SXSW, so it’s a wise idea to plan ahead. Whether it’s the month before, week before, or night before, list out all of the speakers, bands, and booths you want to see in advance. This helps you hopefully be able to catch all of the great content you want to see, without having to sacrifice other content you want to see. Even better, this way you always have a backup. If the line for the show at Dirty Dog is too long, then you have a backup – maybe you can head across the street to Alamo to catch a film.
Get cash beforehand
Sure, there’s ATMs all over downtown, but for ease, load up on some cash before you head out for the day. This way if you end up at a food truck that doesn’t take credit cards, you’re covered. It also makes it very easy to tip for drinks or a pedicab driver. Of course, you can use your credit or debit cards as needed, but having a little extra cash on hand helps out if you’re in a quick bind and need to get to the next event or show.
Bring a backpack
The idea of carrying around a backpack all day may initially seem like it might get in the way, but the benefits outweigh this minor deterrent. Toss in a couple bottles of water, your phone charger, a change of clothes, jacket – anything you want. A phone charger will be a huge benefit alone. There are charging stations throughout downtown during the event; however, the lines are often very long and the chargers don’t work super efficiently. This way, you can head to the convention center or a coffee shop and plug in to charge up.
Those are only a handful of tips, but they should be a good start to getting you on your way to enjoy the festival. Whether you’re there for checking out new bands, catching a new film, or hearing a tech industry speaker, all of these tips will help you out. Check back next week for our blog on “5 Speakers to Hear at SXSW 2015 Interactive.”