The New Year has arrived, and our countdown to SXSW has officially begun! With a little over two months to go, it's a great time to buckle down and make SXSW festival prep one of your top New Year's resolutions. As the official, exclusive application platform for SXSW for the eighth year in a row, we can bear witness to the fact that SXSW is a whirlwind of excitement and opportunity – with close to 30,000 industry professionals in attendance, and over 2,000 musical showcases, it's kind of a big deal. And we're here to help you make the most of it!
Below, we've compiled the most essential tips and resources to help you navigate the 29th annual SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX!
1. Leave no room for logistical errors
If you need help getting organized, SXSW's First Timer's Guide is a great place to start. It answers all of your questions about getting to and around Austin, what to pack, and why downloading the SXSW GO app is a good idea. For example, if you're staying outside of the downtown area, you should definitely pick up a Hotel Shuttle Service Pass. You can also check the upcoming weather report – but if you've been to Austin before, you'll know temps can be unpredictable, so think casual layers.
If you still have more questions, they're most likely covered here!
2. Be prepared to be surprised
You know what they say about the best laid plans. Personal accounts of festival fails from years past can help you prepare for the unexpected. Things to think about:
- Consider a smartphone case that doubles as a charger, since you'll be tweeting and sharing contact info all day.
- Do your research on panels and events ahead of time.
- There's a lot to see, but narrow down a tentative game plan.
- If you haven't booked your accommodations yet, you might be sleeping on the street. Seriously.
3. Play hard, but work harder
There's a lot of fun to be had around Austin from March 17–22, and tips for navigating the deluge of parties and meetups (even without a SXSW badge) are always appreciated. Definitely take advantage of these fun networking events, some with free food, booze, and even #PuppyHour! And of course, stay hydrated to help prevent hangovers. But don't let key contacts or opportunities pass you by. You'll thank us for these four ways to get the most bang for your buck at SXSW!