Get ready people! It’s that time of year again – when musicians, professionals, filmmakers, artists, guest speakers, and some of the best in the entertainment industry come together to network and enjoy what one another have to offer. It’s time for the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
SXSW is among the most acclaimed and rapidly growing festivals around. With only 700 registrants during its inception in 1987, SXSW now includes three separate festivals: SXSW Music, SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive. The number of registrants has grown to 12,000 for the music event and anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 for the interactive and film festivals, showing it’s staggering potential for any and all attendees looking to further their careers in the business.
This year’s Interactive festival started on March 13th and ends on the 17th. It includes trade shows, speakers, and many fantastic parties, although its focus is on emerging technologies and fostering creative ideas.
HBT Interactive highlights:
The 21st Century Skillset: What You Need to Succeed
When: March 16th from 3:30 – 4:30pm @ the JW Marriot
72 Ways Food Can Change the World
When: March 16th from 11:00am – 12:00pm @ the Driskill Hotel
The 7 Hottest Topics in Music Tech in 2015
When: March 17th from 2:00 – 3:00pm @ the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin
The Film festival started on March 13th and will continue through to the 21st. The festival airs over 200 films from all over the world during eight days with the focus being on new directing talent.
HBT Film highlights:
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck directed by Brett Morgen.
When: March 18th from 5:30 – 7:42pm @ the Paramount Theatre.
Watch the official trailer here.
Also look for the world premiere of The Breakfast Club restored for its 30th anniversary.
When: March 16th from 12:15 – 1:52pm @ the Paramount Theatre
The Music festival starts March 17th and ends on the 22nd. This festival is much more than just music performances; it allows attendees to entirely immerse themselves in the world of music – both artistic and corporate. During the day, you can expect to learn and network through panels, talks, trade shows and expositions, while over 2,200 local, national, and international acts take the stage to showcase their talents at night. The music festival floods the city, with over 100 concert venues for nightly shows as well as unofficial after-parties. We’ve listed our favourite electronic acts below based on recognition, originality, and sheer danceability, but don’t limit yourselves as SXSW features acts from Jazz, Blues, Folk, Hip-Hop, R&B, Rap, Rock, Country, and Singer-Songwriter genres.
HBT Music highlights:
Snoop Dogg as the keynote speaker for SXSW Music.
When: Friday, March 20 at 11:00AM in Ballroom A of the Austin Convention Center.
Dream Koala @ The Plush on March 18th
Gorgon City DJ set @ the V Lounge on March 18th
Kaytranada @ the Empire Garage on March 18th
GRiZ @ the Gatsby on March 18th
Bit Funk @ the Madison on March 19th
Odesza @ the Ironwood Hall on March 19th
Hermitude @ the Monster Energy Outbreak House on March 19th
A-Trak playing @ the Gypsy Lounge on March 20th
The Knocks @ the Empire Garage on March 21st
Pomo @ The Main on March 21st
For a full list of SXSW artists, check out this link.
Our tips to enjoy SXSW
Given that this is a festival focused on networking with industry contacts, career building, and advancements in the music business, we’ve provided some helpful tips on how to make the most of your time at SXSW.
- Dress accordingly. While Austin is a casual city, you will want to have clothes for any event from fine dining to all night raging. Also, don’t forget to bring a comfy and reliable pair of shoes! You may not have ever done this amount of walking in your life.
- Make a schedule. The most commonly regretted mistake is not seeing all the artists or attending all the conferences you initially set out to when viewing the festival line-up. A schedule can make your life much easier and will allow for some breathing room in case you hear of any last minute must-sees.
- Don’t overdo it. Choose your events, showcases and parties wisely. You’ll be super disappointed if you end up having to miss out on that special evening because you’re too drained from doing everything imaginable on the first few days.
- That being said, go hard. Make sure you make the most of every moment, personal encounter and concert/DJ set while you’re there. Anything less and you’ll just be kicking yourself in the foot once you’re back home and settled.
- If you’re a first timer, get with SXsocial. This is an awesome resource that the SXSW team provides which allows you to seek out fellow attendees and speakers who have experience with the event. These people will be the guiding angels to show you around and give you the advice you need.
- Lastly, get the app. SXSW Go app allows you to browse all the events, conferences and keynote speakers. It also lets you create your personal schedule available at your fingertips 24/7. This is one of the main tools you will want to utilize in order to stay ahead of the game while you’re in Austin.
One last bit of insider scoop for eager festival-goers in the area: always follow the unofficial SXSW parties! If you want to be really cheeky and resourceful, you can legitimately attend loads of shows – all for free – simply by doing some social media stalking and staying up to date with the Unofficial Facebook Group here.
Often times these parties require an RSVP, so get on that quickly while you still have time. You won’t regret it with the abundance of free booze and tacos that are apparently supplied in addition to the free entertainment.
In the end, whether you’re the attendee with a platinum pass ready to attend every seminar and showcase possible or the attendee without so much as a ticket hitting up all the underground parties, be ready to surround yourself with a mix of both the humble indie music scene and the large corporate one. Be open, have fun, and most of all, enjoy everything the legendary SXSW festival has to offer.