How To Prepare For South By Southwest Festival 2017

For one week in Mid-March, people come from all over the globe to the unmistakable city of Austin, TX for one of the biggest multi-media festivals in the world: South By Southwest (SXSW). Every year, the South By Southwest festival attracts a large audience of those looking to check out the hottest new bands, catch premieres of this year’s most exciting films, and conferences featuring emerging technologies. Whether you’re traveling to Austin for business, a freelance blogger covering the festival, or just a die-hard music fan, you’ll want to find yourself in Austin from March 13-19th. But did you know that there is a right way to approach this festival for your next trip?

For those that don’t know, South By Southwest started as a music festival in the 80s, but has since grown to incorporate film and interactive media. Now, it’s one of the largest forms for introducing new technology. The Austin Convention Center is where the larger conferences take place, but South By Southwest takes over the entire downtown Austin area as well; you could do everything from partying at the Nerdist’s Backyard Bash at Banger’s, dancing to the Avett Brothers at the Moody Theater, or screening never-before-seen films at the Alamo Lamar.

Whether you’re being sent to the festival for business reasons or joining in on the week-long party, it’s going to pay off to go into this thrilling atmosphere with a plan. As amazing as the organized chaos can be, Austin is an enormous city and SXSW is an enormous festival. We’ve come up with the perfect focus plan to get you around the festival well-prepared in order for you to spend less time worrying and more time keeping your eyes open for new experiences. Everything from helping you find last minute deals on resorts to offering travel tips that will keep you in control even when you’re in the biggest crowd in Austin.

What To Pack

Travelers should go into this thinking that SXSW is both a business and pleasure event. Bring plenty of nice clothes and business cards to the interactive events so that you can network with some of the other like-minded enthusiasts. But make sure you have plenty of leisurely clothes for the concerts and film and television premieres as well. Don’t forget to bring comfortable clothing, walking shoes, and an umbrella for safe measure. Austin may be a big city, but it’s also a beautiful one and if you’ve got the time, the walkability is high here.

How To Travel

Presumably, most people will be traveling by air. While this is the prefered method of travel, keep in mind people from all over the world will be traveling to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Mind your flight status before heading to the airport by downloading the airline’s mobile app in order to stay up to date on the latest news and progress of your departure and arrival.

In addition to public transportation and car service apps like Lyft, you can also take the SXSW Festival Shuttles. The shuttles start their run at the Austin Convention Center during conference hours, depart every 10 minutes and can get you within walking distance of even the most remote festival venues.

What To Be Mindful Of

Weather Preparedness

Yes, the stigma that surrounds Austin is that it’s warm and sunny—as is the stereotypical day in Texas. But it’s still Spring, which means there’s a chance rain will occur. Make sure you pack warm clothing and be well prepared to experience the occasional rain shower.

Stay Connected 24/7

South By Southwest also has a few different phone apps which can be incredibly useful to engage your experience with other people. SXsocial allows you to find friends and business connections while also answering questions about travel and accommodations to certain events. SXSW GO helps keep track of panels you’re interested in attending. It lets you know where and when the events are and will allow you to share your schedule with other concert goers.

Bide By The Clock

Again, during South By Southwest, Austin is packed with thousands of people. Add extra time to your preparations. Show up three hours early to the airport instead of the typical 1 to 2 hours. Don’t feel like you have to attend everything, and make a simple and realistic schedule based on the requirements for business trips and the most crucial events you’ll want to see there. Make sure you add time to network when you’re at the festival. Some of the most notable people in the tech industry are attending this festival, so be sure to interact with them and pick their brains beyond their prepared lectures!

Where To Stay

Everything in Austin books up quick in anticipation for this festival. Hotel rooms within a 20-mile radius of Austin had been booked at last year’s festival since the previous October. You don’t want to wait around a single second longer than you should. At, we could very well have a place for you last minute travelers to stay so you can make this unrivaled festival. We have discounted rental deals that could be just the ticket you’re looking for!

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