SXSW 2016 Unofficial Guide

SXSW is a Music, Film and Interactive conference from March 10 – 20, which provides a chance to party with some of the greatest people on Earth. (Official SXSW Site)

SXSWi – South by Southwest interactive the conference where Twitter was launched and staring at your phone is expected. Expect parties that are more business with a side of music, booze and food.

SXSW Film – The who’s who of Hollywood are all in town for the Movies, parties and music. So, why not launch a movie, short, or TV show here.

SXSW Music – The variety in music is unmatched by any festival in the world.   2015 had over 2200 official and unofficial artists playing multiple shows daily to break to the next level!  Theses artist are putting in work!

What to Bring


  • ID
  • Cash/Credit card

Everything Else

  • Bag – to hold other supplies and free swag (Timbuk2 Classic Messenger-2015)
  • Poncho – Weather is crazy in Austin
  • Comfortable Shoes – e.g. Nike Air Pegasus
  • Sunscreen – at least SPF30
  • Lip balm
  • Wet-wipes
  • Quality Ear Plugs – Keeps ears healthy and drowns out side conversations (Etymotic Research ER20)
  • Extended battery pack – Your phone will die (small or large)
  • Phone Charger – You may forget to recharge your extended battery pack
  • Print outs of the parties you want to go to –Your phone will be slow

Getting Around

  • Pedicabs – staple of SXSW travel $15 – $40 to get most places
  • Taxis – Head to a hotel or I-35 access road to catch one
  • Taxis Alternatives – Uber and Lyft
  • Capital Metro Buses2016 Schedule
  • Parking – Try to get downtown before noon
  • Walking – Lots
  • Bicycles – Helps cut down on the walking


Many SXSW attendees are here for business. So, expect a lot of side conversation during performances. If you are there for the music try to get to the front and remember earplugs.

  • RSVP for everything – create a separate email account (RSVPster is a lifesaver)
  • Have a backup plan or four print them out (phones die)
  • Arrive early  – lining up an hour or two early is sometimes the only way to get into a “must see” party or shows
  • If you are not having fun, leave
  • Find new music
  • Make friends
    • If you are networking remember business cards
  • Tip the bartender – even if the drinks are free


  • Some parties will have food – Check the RSVP (follow @SouthByFreeNOMS on Twitter)
  • Food Trucks are awesome
  • Taco, Taco, Taco– (Torchy’s Secret Menu – try the Trailer Park Hillbilly Style)
  • BBQ – Austin is becoming the BBQ capital of World but if you need a break and have a car head to Lockhart for authentic Central Texas BBQ
  • Many more – Check Yelp or Urban Spoon

Official Music Showcases

  • Arrive early
  • Usually you can get in after the badges and wristbands for $5 – $15

SXSW 2016 Playlists

2016 Must Follow Twitter Party People

SXSW 2016 Unofficial Guides, Party Lists, and Helpful Sites

SXSW 2016 Unofficial Guide was originally published on Music Felon

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