How to Survive South by Southwest
South by Southwest is the premiere music festival in Austin, Texas for up-and-coming independent bands in the United States and knowing how to survive South by Southwest is important if you dare want to attempt attending this music festival. Here are a few tips on how to survive a trip to South by Southwest that will make your adventure a memorable and safe experience.
- Plan your schedule in advance. South by Southwest features roughly 2,000 bands performing in multiple venues during a short window of time. Decide who you want to see and plan your schedule accordingly.
- Wear a watch. There is an endless party atmosphere going on in Austin during the South by Southwest week so getting distracted is easy. If you want to stick to your pre-planned schedule, a watch is crucial to arriving promptly for your selected artists' showcases.
- Bring lots of cash. Assuming you are keeping on schedule, drinks, cover charges and much-needed food items will cost a few bucks. The street vendor hawking a hot dog or frosty brew may not have a credit card machine handy, so cash rules.
- Maintain access to water. Alcohol dehydrates, so make sure you have a ready supply of liquid nutrients available to "go the distance."
- Secure lodging well in advance. Austin is a big city, but with all the hub-bub going on during South by Southwest, lodging will be at a premium. If you have a buddy in the area or at the very least an ex-girlfriend that you're still on speaking terms with, you might have a leg up on this situation. Your other alternative is to plug the parking meter every two hours, sleep under a bridge, or fly a private helicopter to a 40-acre weekend retreat nearby. Whatever is viable is fair game.
- Approach every bar like you know the band. This probably won't work real well, but hey, with 2,000 bands in town the bouncer may just buy it and let you in. (Hint: this tip only works if you know what band is playing at what bar at what time. See tips one and two. If that doesn't work, see tip three.)
- Find some cute local girls and buy them lots of drinks. This shouldn't be misconstrued as seeking to get in their pants. This will purely provide information as to where the real action is going down, whereby you can show up there and give some other cute girls free drinks to try to get in their pants.
- Wear a "life jacket." Safety first. Texas is known for its floods. Know what I mean?
- Wear a lanyard. Basically this is a rectangular plastic thingy that hangs around your neck on a shoelace. You might be surprised at the places this official-looking thing will grant you access to at a glance.
- Pace yourself. South by Southwest is a multi-day party experience. Don't try to take it all in in one day. It can't be done. Don't try to take the whole festival in on year. It can't be done. Pick your spots. Go with the flow. Enjoy the moment.