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Survival guide and tips

SXSW 2012

March 08, 2012|By Jessica Galliart

RSVP to everything. If you end up fitting something in your schedule, great. If not, no worries. The open bars fill up quick and generally run out of booze in an hour. Word of mouth is the best way to find the happening places. Pick someone who looks like they know what they’re doing and ask where they’re going throughout the weekend. –Andy Keil

Am I going to see celebrities and bands just walking around downtown?

Literally thousands of bands drive into Austin for SXSW.  They will be walking amongst the crowd just like everyone else.  It is not like Lollapalooza at all – SXSW is gigantic block party where almost everywhere you go there is a live performance going on. –Gino Pennacchio

SXSW is not like Lollaplooza with designated VIP areas (they exist, but are less prevalent/noticed). You'll see musicians and celebrities. –Neph Basedow
Everyone mingles. It's awesome. Some of the parties have VIP scenes but if you're at a party like that you're probably not getting the most out of SXSW. –Jim Kopeny

Absolutely. There is nothing VIP at SXSW except maybe the conference area. You’ll see artist loading gear, waiting in line for food, and definitely getting hammered so be prepared to meet your idols. –Andy Keil

Due to the nature of SXSW you will see musicians everywhere; in your hotel, on the streets, loading in and out of the venues. It's a great place for people and musician watching. –Veronica Murtagh


This one night when Gordon and I hopped into a van with the guys from Art Vs. Science and Miami Horror, and drove far out of Austin – to a mall.  It was 1am, and we end up walking into this closed building – imagine walking into Woodfield Mall with all of the lights out – passing by all these closed up shops, but you just hear this thumping kick drum.  As we were walking, it just kept getting louder and louder… and then suddenly someone opens this door and there is this HUGE party and Flosstradamus is on stage in the middle of a killer set.  That, was a fun party. –Gino Pennacchio

That one in an old Buick dealership where I was chasing Janeane Garafolo around trying to hit on her. And failing miserably. I still had fun though. –Jim Kopeny

On my first trip to SXSW I had some leftover posters from my showcase to get back home. The hotel had FedEx service but it was pickup/dropoff only. I had spoken with the front desk to have the package sent ground delivery. The front desk instead sent my heavy box of posters overnight at a charge of nearly $500. I spent weeks trying to have the charges reversed with no success. I'm still mad about it. –Veronica Murtagh


For the past 5 years, I've told myself, "This will be your last year." And here I am. –Neph Basedow

My game plan is different from that of a concertgoer, because I have a job to do.  Only after Gemini Club is done with their shows for the day do I relax.  Most of GC’s shows this year are in the late hours so I’m kind of screwed.  As it currently stands, they have an off day on Thursday, so I will be using that day to check out as many bands as I can.  There are a ton of shows I want to see, but I’ll unfortunately have to pass on a good number of them. –Gino Pennacchio

I have a badge but still am not sure if I'm actually going to be able to get out of Chicago long enough to cover. I'm making a last-minute call in that area. –Jim Kopeny

I use SXSW as a way to relax and hang out with the people that I only get to talk with through email all year long. I don’t generally bust my ass to get to shows or lineup a TON of people to meet because that gets really hectic. The name of the game is great food, free booze, and the best music has to offer. –Andy Keil

I'm excited to do SXSW entirely on my own terms this year. I'm headed down solo with a hotel room to myself. I listen to a wide variety of music, so I'm planning to catch a bit of everything; electronic, hip-hop, rock. I'm most interested in seeking out acts I've not seen live before. Of course there will be plenty of tacos, margaritas and meet-ups with online friends. Oh and (shameless plug) myself and No Modest Bear will be presenting a daytime showcase on Friday, March 16 at Hype Machine's Hype Hotel. –Veronica Murtagh


Have your phone charger on you.  Your cell phone will die, and it will die early.  If you’re unprepared, the loss of your cell phone will set off a chain of events very similar to what we’ve come to find from a DIRECTV commercial. –Gino Pennachio

Hydrate. And eat as much brisket as you possibly can. –Jim Kopeny

Don’t get caught up in the “official.” Meet people and explore, you’ll be rewarded. –Andy Keil

Wear comfortable shoes. See some acts you've never heard of, you just might return home with a new favorite band. –Veronica Murtagh

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