A newbies guide to SxSW (Tips from Ninebullets.net):
So you took the plunge? Saved your pennies, reserved a room, bought a plane ticket and you’re now inside of week from standing on 6th Street for your first ever SxSW experience. Congratulations! You’re about to have equal parts; the time of your life and the hardest 4 days ever. At times you’ll probably even swear you’re never doing it again.
We here at the ninebullets.net camp won’t be getting out there this year. Instead, we’ll be back here in Florida doing the CxCW thing and following all y’all’s exploits on Facebook and Twitter…..and, admittedly, being a little jealous.
Anyhow, I thought I’d take a minute and offer a few tips to anyone heading out for their first ever SxSW. Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the weekend, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own drunken, cloudy, meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now (5 points if you can name/remember that song):
- Be prepared. Have a spreadsheet that tells you where & when shows are happening. Get everything you might wanna see on it….even if the shows are happening at the same time as you might be next door to one venue and across town from the other. Trust me, walking 10 blocks seems like nothing at noon but becomes an insurmountable distance at 12am and 15 beers.
- Make said list clear and easy to read/follow when you’re drunk/in a crowd.
- Be prepared to go off said list almost immediately upon setting foot on 6th. My first year I had everything listed and was feeling confident I knew what I was doing. Accidentally walk into the wrong venue looking for an afternoon show and see a poster for a Memphis Revue happening that night with Harlan T. Bobo. Needless to say, you’ll need to be fluid.
- Enjoy what you do see and don’t think about what you miss. Inevitably, you’ll miss more than you actually see. So what. It’s about the experience, enjoy that and not the notion of what could have been….
- Speaking of experience: Allow yourself some time to just randomly walk into venues and see bands you’ve never heard of. You’ll never be surrounded by that much music again, experience it. Find some new bands. Don’t make it a 4 day venture of seeing every TCG/Lucero show in Austin….while that’s fun, it is squandering an awesome opportunity.
- Eat food. Drink water. Do not pass up an opportunity to sit down. When sitting, apply that sunscreen.
- I would advise you to not go to the parties at Yard Dog. It’s way small and while it’s easy to get a cab there, it’s all but impossible to get one back and that is a seriously long walk.
- Get an extra battery for your cell phone. Charge both nightly.
- Wear comfortable shoes and have fun.
So there. A few pointers from your pal Autopsy. Take my advice or don’t but trust me on the sunscreen.
Any other SxSW vets wanna add their tips in the comments section?