SXSW Survival Guide

Written by on March 13, 2015

SXSW is the largest music festival of its kind. Taking place each year around mid-March in Austin, it was established in 1987 and has been gaining more momentum and recognition with each passing year. In 2014 the festival generated a total economic impact of 315.3 million dollars and an estimated 376, 600 persons in attendance. There are over 2,000 official and countless unofficial showcases performing at over 100 music venues around the city. Aside from the music, the weeks leading up to the showcases include a film festival that sheds light on up and coming directors and an interaction festival that showcases the newest innovations in technology. With the entire city on fire and people, featuring a large number of celebrities, coming in from around the world, what is a first-time attendee supposed to do?

Crowd at butler Park 2014. Photo by Tye Truitt.

Crowd at butler Park 2014. Photo by Tye Truitt.

With much consultation from the internet and tales of experience from those who have been, I have made a list of tips that will allow all of us to survive this spring break. These tips are pretty universal to any music festival, so keep them in mind while setting out to FPSF and Warped Tour.

First and foremost, safety in key. SXSW has gotten its share of criticism for becoming too large and rambunctious, especially after last year’s tragic drunk driving crowd rundown that left four dead and many others injured. To ensure safety it is wise to travel with a friend at all times.

Also be sure to carry your phone charger with you, investing in a portable charger phone case is wise. To be left with a dead phone in an unfamiliar city that is crazy populated is not only frustrating but dangerous.

Have your sleeping arrangements set beforehand, do not expect to find a vacant hotel room. If by the miracle that you do, I guarantee it will cost an arm and a leg.

Carry cash on you for things such as food and parking. There is a chance not everyone will accept your card.

Be sure to stay hydrated and eat. Five days of running around can and will be mentally and physically exhausting, stay nourished! Pack snacks and water in your backpack. Taking all of your vitamins will also help considerably. I have already stocked up on my Centrum Silvers.


Britcoin Madness 2014. Photo by

Be sure to study the city. Get to know the map. Figure out the location of the venues you will be attending, the distance and best route to each. If you will be utilizing busses, get on those routes. Know when and where they are arriving and departing.

Hygiene is always key. Bring hand sanitizer, body spray, deodorant. It all sounds trivial, but having the knowledge that something smells like death and it’s coming from under your arms can ruin any day.

Overall, have fun, make friends, but don’t trust strangers. If someone is telling you Dave Grohl is awaiting you in this creepy van, let’s run away. With that being said, I hope everyone stays safe and has a blast!

For more information and a look into all of the official showcases check out the official website:


By Corina Carrizales

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