December 16, 2004 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Should I go to SXSW? (mi)

Gosh, the program for SXSW Interactive looks really interesting, and I'm wondering if I should go. What's it like? Is there a "Newbie's Guide to SXSW"? Would my Interactive registration get me into the Film or Music components? Also...I'd be going just because it sounds like a fun, interesting thing to do. My employer wouldn't be sending me, I'm not an A-lister, and I'm not particularly good at schmoozing (and, truth be told, sometimes have to be dragged out of my introvert's shell.) Is it insanely crowded? Well-run? Staggeringly expensive (restaurants, hotels, etc.)? What should I know?
posted by Vidiot to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
yeah, if you take me. i'll buy beer.
posted by damnitkage at 4:19 PM on December 16, 2004

See also this thread.
posted by jjg at 5:20 PM on December 16, 2004

Would my Interactive registration get me into the Film or Music components?

No. You have to buy entrance into those things separately. There's a platinum pass for an obscene amount of $ that gets you into everything.

You can get into shows and movies with a wristband/pass for much less. However the pecking order for the music shows is: important vip people, badge holders, wristbands, walk ups. The really hot shows fill up fast. But you can see some great bands and films.

It is your choice to make the trip though. But I think you should come to Austin and spend lots of money. We need the tax revenue.

[seriously, what the fuck vetiver?]
posted by birdherder at 5:40 PM on December 16, 2004

Without a doubt go. I went a couple years ago, and had a blast. Shitloads of cool bands , great atmosphere...
posted by notsnot at 6:04 PM on December 16, 2004

Here's an add on question - should I go with my girlfriend? I would want to see all the interactive crap, she would want to see all the music crap, and ideally we'd maybe like to see each other occasionally. Is that plausable from a time standpoint?
posted by revgeorge at 7:00 PM on December 16, 2004

revgeorge, the only downside to that plan is you'd have loads of fun things to do the first 3-4 days while she was bored, then music starts and perhaps the roles would be reversed. It's a long week to do both.
posted by mathowie at 7:06 PM on December 16, 2004

is there a list of what bands will be attending this year? i looked on and couldn't find who was going to be there.
posted by lotsofno at 7:16 PM on December 16, 2004

I went to SXSW one year and met Matt, which was pretty cool.
posted by jennyb at 7:51 PM on December 16, 2004

I went to the music part of it last year -- far better than any Spring Break trip to Mexico I had ever taken in the past. Great bands -- even a surprise appearance by one of my favorites (Spymob) -- and dozens of great stories to tell about it. No doubt I'm going again this year.
posted by fourstar at 9:39 PM on December 16, 2004

I attended SXSW in '92 and had a blast! I stayed in a tent at nearby Lake Travis. It was a bit chilly, but I was able to save enough money that way to see all the shows I wanted, and I had more money left for beer. Also, food is cheap enough in Austin, being a slacker college town. 1992 was a long time ago, but I hear from friends in the biz that it still rocks. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for flyers announcing underground or anti-SXSW festivities. The local naysayers put on some of the performances and mopst interesting parties.
posted by mds35 at 7:31 AM on December 17, 2004

Is there some kind of pass you can get for the SXSW music festival that covers the concerts only, and not the associated conference & trade show? I know similar events (like Toronto's NXNE) have a much cheaper music-only badge for those of us who just want to rock, and not 'interact with your peers around the industry', but I don't see anything like this on the SXSW site.
posted by Gortuk at 1:24 PM on December 17, 2004

i would say that sxsw interactive is somewhat crowded but not insanely, unless you count the more popular keynotes which run to full capacity; well run, barring last year's "no plugging into outlets" snafu which was corrected swiftly thanks to cory doctorow; and can run cheap as long as you don't stay at the official conference hotel, the hilton. it's also a ton of fun! panels/keynotes during the day; dinner, conversations, and parties during the night. most everybody is low-key, easy-to-meet, and there's lots of casual hanging out going on.

with regard to sxsw music, to get into the showcases (live music) only rather than the conference itself (panels, keynotes), you'll need a sxsw wristband. last year they were heavy duty plastic deals with RFID tags embedded in them. they go on sale a few weeks before sxsw begins and are mostly only available in person, so if you know an austin native that definitely helps. the wristbands ran about $120 last year. i wrote a big long thing about going to the shows only for sxsw music on chromewaves, which i won't repeat here save for saying that out-of-towners can get music wristbands at

i do love the insanity of sxsw music: walking 6th street in downtown, austin, which is closed to traffic, and seeing that it's just a mass of show-hopping humanity, with folks from NYC, LA, and, well, all over the world, running around, drinking, eating, and watching live music. i think i saw close to 30 bands while i was there. bands will be announced around mid-february, i think. (i believe it was 2/16 last year.)

in short, i went to sxsw interactive and music last year and am planning on going this year as well, but for pretty much the whole thing (interactive conference, film conference, music showcases) this time around. i'm planning to hop between the interactive and film panels during the first five days, and then go wild with the showcases and parties (and don't forget the unofficial, independent shindigs and the in-stores!) during the music part of sxsw. i'll be running myself ragged, again; ask me about it again on march 21st.
posted by kathryn at 12:26 AM on December 20, 2004

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