SXSW is here! In case you’re still feeling stressed about this week’s festivities, we’ve put together the ultimate last-minute guide to help you feel as prepared as ever when heading to Austin, Texas for one of the year’s biggest and best music and networking events.
Whether you’re a South By rookie or a returning veteran, check out some of our tried and true tips and tricks for getting through the event in a breeze.
Here’s our complete SXSW guide, from what to wear, who to see and everything in between.
What to Prepare
Arguably the most important item to pack for any music event, earplugs are a vital tool to keep your hearing in check. Ensure you can enjoy the music all week long by keeping your ears safe!
2. A Phone Charger
There’s nothing worse than having a dead phone and not being able to take notes or grab someone’s contact information! Make sure your phone is completely charged before you head out every day and bring a back-up charger or additional battery pack.
3. Comfortable Shoes or a Pair of Insoles
Wear comfortables clothes and shoes! You’ll likely be walking from event to event all day long, so make sure to dress casually and stay cool. Keep your feet from getting tired by mid-day by investing in a pair of quality insoles.
4. Business Cards and/or Creative Merch
You’ll be sharing your contact information over and over again all week so make sure to brand yourself properly! Bring business cards, downloadable cards, merch items, stickers, or any other item that has your contact information on it. Be creative!
5. Healthy Snacks
With all of the fun you’ll be having all week, it might seem difficult to find time to eat! Make sure to bring healthy snacks like trail mix, protein bars or fresh fruit to stay energized and keep yourself from getting hangry. But, as always, make sure to get at least three proper meals in per day.
6. Chewing Gum or Breath Mints
You’ll be doing a lot of talking this week. Keep your breath minty fresh by keeping gum or chewing mints in your bag. Plus, you’ll look extra prepared when someone inevitably asks if you have any!
7. Water Bottle
Do not forget to stay hydrated! It can be very easy to get dehydrated walking around in the Texas sunshine, so make sure to keep a water bottle by your side and re-fill it multiple times a day. You have a long week ahead of you!
8. Download the Ride Austin App
Unfortunately, Austin, Texas does not allow popular ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft, but they do have a local non-profit service called Ride Austin! It’s available on iPhone and Android and was built specifically for Austin. Download it here and get from place to place with ease!
9. A Positive Attitude
Last, but not least, bring a smile to SXSW! It may seem easy to get discouraged with so much going on, but remember, this week is all about meeting people and having fun, so just remember to stay positive. Good luck!
What to Expect + Where to Go
1. A Lot of Networking
Network, network, network! Make sure to get the most out of your SXSW experience by setting up meetings on the SXSW Social site. Reach out to people in advance, set up quick meetings, and make sure to exchange contact information and follow up once you are home.
- Best place to schedule meetings are:
- Hilton Downtown at 500 E 4th St, Austin, TX 78701: This is the hub for all meeting aside from the Austin Convention Center. It’s just a minute way and there are tons of tables and seating, including a Starbucks in the lobby.
- For a more casual drink and “up scale” experience head to the lobby of The Driskill Bar located at 604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701.
2. Events, Events, Events!
SXSW is full of more events than you’ll likely be able to keep track of, so make sure to stay organized by downloading the SXSW Go app. It even syncs with your Spotify account and makes recommendations on artists you might like. This app is crucial!
3. Trade Shows and Exhibitions
There will be a lot of different events for you to partake in this week. Hit up the SXSW trade show, which features about 500 companies. From local startups to established industry leaders and more, this event has it all. Make sure to also catch the Flatstock Exhibition, which is held by the American Poster Institute. You’ll be exposed to the works of the world’s top gig poster artists. There’s no better way to spark some creativity! There’s also a gaming expo, an art program and so much more.
4. Amazing Food + Drinks
Remember when I told you to eat at least three proper meals a day? Well, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so this week. Find incredible barbecue, tacos, cocktails and more within walking distance of SXSW this year. Check out 11 incredible restaurants to scope out over at Eater Austin.
5. Panels, Conferences + More
Don’t miss the opportunity to attend as many panels and conferences as possible. SXSW brings some of the industry’s leading minds in music, technology and film together in one place for some of the most thought-provoking events you’ll find all year. Check out all of the panels here.
6. Undiscovered Artists
Go check out some artists you’ve never heard of this year! There are a ton of new artists performing every day, so go check out some names that sound interesting and who knows? You might just stumble upon a new favorite. Plus, you can tell all of your friends back home about your brand new discoveries.
Last, but not least, Who to See
We put together our top 10 electronic acts, Latin acts, hip-hop acts and bands to check out at this year’s festival. Find them all here. Check out how to connect with our team and tune into our SXSW 2018 Spotify playlist below. Good luck and happy SXSW-ing!