SXSW: What You NEED To Know

If you are anything like me and don’t know what the heck is going on with the whole SXSW thing, you’re in the right place. With SO much activity going on within these 10 days, it is easy to get lost in schedules, times, and locations. Before you know it, you’re down a rabbit hole of events. I’m here to at least give you a little comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.

By Lauren Castro


Photo from sxsw.com

Photo from sxsw.com

What even is SXSW?

South by Southwest (SXSW), is one of the biggest events in Austin, TX, right next to Austin City Limits. SXSW strives to merge interactive, film and entertainment in ways to provide a unique experience to those attending. Consisting of conferences, exhibits, performances, panels and much more, there is never a shortage of things going on. This may be a bit daunting to someone who has never gone to a big event like this but I’m here to tell you that everything will be okay. Breathe and get your planner out.

When Is It?

This year the events starts Friday, March 8th and ends Sunday, March 17th. During this time period, there is always something going on. Be prepared and don’t be discouraged when you can’t get into a certain event. There’s always something else you can go to.

Photo from music.blog.austin360.com

Photo from music.blog.austin360.com

Where Is It?

When looking at the schedule, most locations are closer to downtown Austin. We are looking at places like Cesar Chavez where the Austin Convention Center is located, Rainey Street, 5th street, 6th street and Congress. The key to being prepared for SXSW is staying downtown or around the convention center and being ready for anything to happen. There are multiple events that happen at the same time so choose wisely!!!

How Can I Get Involved?

First, I would get the SXSW Go app. This will help you a ton in scheduling your days. I follow @whenwherewhataustin as well as @thedirtyteam to get more info about parties and events going on during SXSW. I would follow @atxconcert on Twitter as well. They have good insider tips that are beneficial to these crazy couple of days. I would suggest keeping their post notifications on. Some events you have to RSVP for so keep a look out for specific things you’d like to attend.

There’s 4 types of bands you can purchase that have different events you can go to linked to them. The music badge grants you access to all music events, the interactive badge does the same with interactive events and the film badge gets you into film events. The platinum badge gets you into ALL events, so the past three badges put into one badge. I know, this is a lot to think about. Don’t want to buy a badge but still want to participate? Keep reading.

Can I access any of these events for free? Is that even possible?

The Holy Grail: The SXSW Guest Pass. All you need to do is register here and you’re already on the right track. This pass allows you to enter some of the free SXSW official events going on. A list of events you can use the pass with are listed on the link. Some of them include seeing people like the X Ambassadors, Abhi The Nomad, and Andrew Bird. You can access community screenings, showcases and workshops with the pass as well. I would recommend this pass for anyone just wanting to see what SXSW is about. Get a feel for it then come back next year with a better idea of what everything is about.

Photo from KXAN.com

Photo from KXAN.com

Any Big Names Attending?

Khalid, Billie Eilish, X Ambassadors, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Asap Rocky, and Olivia Wilde will be attending and participating in festivals, panels, and showcases. This is only a glimpse at some of the A-listers that will be chillin’ in Austin.

Whew. That...was a lot. Just remember: have fun! SXSW is created to benefit YOU through networking and learning experiences. Have free time? Go downtown and walk around. I guarantee you that you will find something to do. Good luck!

More information can be found on their official website.