Who's going this year? I'm taking the whole week off of work.
ETA: Here's some additional info for any first-timers or those thinking about going for the first time. Things work a lot different at SXSW than most other festivals.
The more popular shows are harder to get into if you don't have at least a wristband. Even with a wristband, you may not get into the shows that you want to go to. There are a lot of things that factor into this and it sort of is complicated. I'll give you a brief rundown of how SXSW works.
In general, there are 3 tiers of festival goers, and most of this applies to night showcases only: Badge Holders
- Badges are at least $500. This is the highest tier and is mostly very rich people, media, artists, hipsters who blew 2 paychecks on a badge. A badge gets you the highest priority to get into a show. You also don't have to pay a door fee to get in. People with Wristbands
- The next tier. These are mostly Austin residents, because they are only made available to them in advance of the festival. You can still sometimes buy wristbands at different venues early on in the festival for $160-200. A wristband gets you priority to get into a show if there are no badge holders waiting. If it's a high profile artist, you better still get there early. You also don't have to pay door fees. People with nothing
- You are last on the list to get into shows. You can still have a great time, but you need to have several backup shows on your list in case you can't get into the one you want to go to. If you want in for a high profile show, you should plan to get there for the first band of the night and just stick around (if they let you). Many official "showcase" shows do not allow people in without a wristband or badge.
With all this being said, there is a lot more to the festival. There are TONS of free shows during the day, open to anybody, and usually don't discriminate on who gets in first. Many of them have free food and drinks. There are also cool RSVP events that only allow people in if you RSVP. This requires some research ahead of time to find all the events. There are some websites that do this for you and you just RSVP to the events that are posted.
There are several "unofficial" SXSW night shows that are free and open to the public. So you can always go to these if you can't get into showcases.
I buy a wristband every year after a bad experience that I had without one. I didn't really plan my week that well one year and I spent most of my time standing in line and not getting into most of the shows that I wanted to get into. With a wristband, I also don't have to pay door fees, so if you go to enough shows, the wristband almost pays for itself. I've used a wristband for 3 years and for the most part, have gotten into almost all the shows that I wanted to. I spend less time waiting in line, which means I get to see more acts. That's the path that I recommend doing if you can get a wristband.
Anyway, if you have other questions, I'd be happy to answer.
This post was edited on 1/23 at 9:42 am