Monday, March 18, 2013

SXSW Tips from a Third-Year

Before I end it for good, here's one last post about SXSW.  It's a list of tips I thought would be helpful for future SXSW-goers and for me, in case I have the chance to attend another one.  So I'll just get to it, then:

Strategy
  • About two or three weeks ahead of time, listen to music.  Find out who is new, whose sound you like, and who has generated buzz lately.  I always trust Paste Magazine's list of who's-who, and NPR usually publishes a list of the top 100 bands to watch out for.  Let this be your guide to who you plan to see.
  • About a week or two ahead of time, start RSVP-ing like crazy.  Paste Magazine, The Fader, SPIN Magazine.  Do a lot of Internet research!  Google "SXSW secret shows" or visit the Rolling Stones Web site.
  • Pick a handful of bands you really, really want to see, and schedule your week around those.  Then just mosey around and be spontaneous.  Apart from those select bands on your must-see list, be flexible.
  • Don't forget about the films!  Often, the filmmakers are there to answer questions after the screening.
Logistics
  • Wear sunscreen!  (Don't forget your scalp!)
  • Wear comfortable shoes; you will be walking -- and possibly dancing -- a lot.
  • If you don't have a badge or a wristband, get to venues at least an hour to an hour and a half ahead of time.
  • Park at the 10-dollar garage on 2nd and Brazos.  (Or better, ride a bike!)
  • Park at Whole Foods for shows at Waterloo Records.  Be prepared for mob-like crowds.
  • Day shows are usually free.
  • Try the venues that are far away from 6th Street; they often have lots of free stuff (e.g., bags, aluminum water bottles, t-shirts, foodstuffs, etc.)

Do you have any useful tips for SX?  What have you learned that others should know?  (Feel free to disagree with my tips!)



Thing I'm thankful for: validation in the form of Facebook likes.  :)

2 Comments:

Blogger Nathan said...

Yeah. I've got four:

First, ride a bike. You'll save yourself hours of parking/walking time.
Second, be prepared to try something new. If someone says San Cisco is good, listen to them. If someone suggests that Family of the Year might be the next big thing, check it out.
Third, don't be afraid to spend a few bucks on a band you think you might like. And by "few bucks" I might mean as much as $30. You might regret it, but there's also a possibility you won't.
Fourth, just walk in. If they say the show is only for RSVP events or SXSW wrist-band holders, just get to the front of the line and walk in. Worst thing that could happen is they'll kick you out. Best thing that could happen is you might be get to San Cisco for free or you might get into Joshua James for free (instead of the $20 cover).

7:24 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

All good tips that I wish I had had before Wednesday. :)

And I'll definitely give a lot of support for your third tip, Nathan. Being willing to spend money on some shows -- especially when you're seeing most of them for free, anyway -- is key. Key, key, key.

8:03 PM  

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