How to survive SXSW without losing your mind

Photo by Sheila Scarborough
Photo by Sheila Scarborough

Our tips for a sane spring break without breaking the bank

Austin plays host the annual South by Southwest event, also know as SXSW, for 10 days this March. In our case, we simply call it South By.  People from all over the world converge on our city to enjoy the very best of tech, film and music.

So what do you do if you didn’t buy a badge and still want to enjoy the perks of the festival?

  1. Buy a wristband – Can’t afford the cost of a badge?  Wristbands were designed to allow the locals to attend music events. Of course online they are sold out, but they will be available around town closer to the event. If you can get a hold of them, wristbands cost around $200 (compared to the $900 cost of a badge for the music venues).  These wristbands will get you into the music venues around town, but they are not a guarantee you will actually get into that event. If music is your thing, this is a great option to see tons of new bands.
  2. Get on the GuestPass list — STAT.  This list will get you into tons of events for FREE, including the concert series at Auditorium Shores.  Yes, I did say free…go now and sign up.  The guest pass will also get you access to events like SXSW Gaming Expo, SXSW Job market, SX Create and the GA & SX Workshops.
  3. Buy film tickets individually.  If movies are your thing — according to the SXSW website — if any seats remain, single-admission tickets will be sold for $10 starting 15 minutes before showtime. Tickets are usually sold at the Paramount, the Austin Convention Center and ZACH.

 There are those who live in the area and have zero desire to be in the middle of the chaos.  So how do locals survive?

  1. Leave town.  Be like my boss and leave the time zone.  No seriously, she’s actually leaving the city and heading up to the Big Apple!
  2. Take a day trip to Enchanted Rock or one of the other amazing Texas state parks.  Put down the phone and laptop and get back in touch with nature — you will thank me later! (that is unless you break your ankle or get a sunburn; I assume zero liability)
  3. Go check out the amazing Texas Wine trails . We recommend checking out the northern Hill Country wine trails up by San Saba. (Alamosa and Wedding Oak Winery are two we love)
  4. Put on your boots and enjoy some great country music at the Austin Rodeo.  Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakum and Tyler Farr are all playing this year.  Oh, so country isn’t your thing?  How about the Beach Boys, Boyz II Men or Sublime?  They are there too!

So whether you will be braving the SXSW crowd, or taking in some of the scenery outside the downtown area there really is something for everyone to do in central Texas.   If you see me or Brooke out at SXSW, be sure to stop and say hi, or you can easily follow us and our SXSW adventures on Twitter!