After going to this festival since college, and seeing it explode into what it is now, you get a bad feeling that it’s nothing more than a drunken street festival with music you can barely get into everywhere. 6th Street looks like old Astroworld on a summer day now, so I’ve compiled some tips I’ve found over the years that made the intolerable tolerable again.
1. Move from Austin. I hated it when I lived there for the most part. Working at Frost Tower was a nightmare, could barely get there, then had to hear music and fun all day. Now that I live in Colorado, I adore SXSW.
2. Get a hotel downtown. Like the year before. Traffic gridlocks, shuttle buses can barely get you to downtown, and pretty much forget getting a cab. Book way ahead of the time, it’s worth the money to be able to walk right back to your hotel for air conditioning, change of shoes, a bathroom, etc.
3. Bring various types of shoes and change shoes at least once a day. Even the most comfy shoes start to rub after walking five miles on the hot asphalt.
4. Go Tuesday through Thursday, take off work if you can. You will see almost every band playing before the weekend warriors come in.
5. Lots of phones don’t work well down there. Put it on airplane mode as you walk around, go in the convention center and use their free wifi, air conditions, clean restrooms, and short lines for coffee.
6. If you buy a badge, upload a cute pic beforehand and send it to them. The pictures they take in line are awful.
7. Try to eat before getting down to 6th. Food trucks have crazy lines, eat on Congress and grab some trail mix and stuff.
8. Bring a pen and paper and write your schedule down. That awesome sxsw app doesn’t work for everyone down there.
9. Follow your ears. If you are heading somewhere but hear something good, just check it out. That band you were heading to will play many more times.
10. Stop being afraid of getting closer than 6 feet to the stage. It doesn’t bite, and the band feels more comfortable.
Well, that’s a start! Soon my reviews and Who To Watch list will be up!