9 Hacks for Getting the Most Out of SXSW

Article by: Art Gimbel

Mon March 03, 2014 | 00:00 AM

Originally started in 1987 as a weekend music festival, SXSW now spans 10 days and encompasses music, technology and film, attracting tens of thousands of attendees. While a festival of this size and duration doesn't favor the unprepared, it does reward the spontaneous. Heed our advice for making the most of your time in Austin, but don’t be too attached to your plans—you never know when an invitation to an amazing showcase or surprise concert will come your way. 


1. Read the First Timer's Guide.



Just like Burning Man has a Survival Guide, so does SXSW. Read it. Survive it.


2. Sign up for RSVPster. 



For a mere $40 they do the work for you, by automating the RSVP process. What they don't do is make up your mind for you. There should be an app for that.


3. Twitter! Use it.



Twitter was invented at SXSW as a way to figure out where the best parties are. Here is a list of must follow accounts from RSVPster.


4. Less is more.

Go to fewer events and spend more meaningful time at the places that matter. If that means breaking away from the festival crowds for an afternoon, go for it. Check out Lonely Planet's tips on the best things to do in Austin.


5. Charge your gadgets.



Portable cell phone chargers are compact and work wonders when you're away from outlets all day. Most are good for multiple charges so you can juice up a friend in need. Check out Tech Radar's recommendations for the best portable chargers.


6. Charge yourself.



Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated...and no, Lone Stars don't count. Oh, and don't forget to use reusable water bottles.    


7. Use AirBnB, the housing hack.



Speaking of sleep, you are going to need some. Why not crowd source your housing? Hotels fill up fast in Austin during SXSW, so AirBnB is a welcome (and often more affordable) option. 


8. Attend the first annual SXSW Hackathon.



Yes! Check out the new SXSW Hackathon, which includes a $10,000 grand prize and celebrity judges.


9. Get the SXSW Guest Pass.



Can't affort a badge? Check out the SXSW guest pass. It will allow you to get into some great events for free.