SXSW 2017: Noobs

So you’re coming to Austin for South By South West

(great! Just don’t move here)

SXSW starts THIS WEEK. Tomorrow actually with SXSWEdu and if you haven’t come to Austin yet for the festival, you’re truly missing out. Similar to Halloween, this is my favorite time of the year. There is WAY too much to do – free goodies, free food, free music… Last year I even met the IBM robot Pepper. 

So for all you noobs out there, I’ve compiled 5 helpful tips that will help you have the BEST SXSW EVER without buying a badge or a wristband. 

Basically that means doing a two week festival…FO FREE.

SXSW 2016, Interactive 


If you have never been to SXSW this probably seems overwhelming, but take a breath and stretch out your fingers, because in three weeks you’ll be thanking me. For the most part, everything at SXSW has a requirement for entry – whether that means “Badge Only” “Badge and Wristbands Only” “RSVP but Badge and Wristband get priority”. But where can you find these RSVPs you ask? STALK TWITTER. Literally. 

Here are some great accounts: @sara_loretta (me of course); @SXUnofficial; @SXSWHipHop; @SXSWMF (James is a God, seriously); @FreeShitGuide

But why? Because I said. And most parties come with free food and drinks (usually alcoholic). Example: Spredfast every year does food, last year it was a brunch buffet, this year it’s a milkshake bar.


As above mentioned, you will be getting free shit. Lots of free shit. For example: last year I walked away with 8 pairs of sunglasses, 4 tshirts, a super expensive water bottle, EOS lip balm, posters, yadda yadda. SO BRING A BACKPACK. Only so many places give out that funky cool tote bags (and unless you live in Austin, you won’t care about because your grocery store still gives you bags at checkout). 

Things I recommend you pack daily in your backpack:

  • A Portable phone charger (just do it, seriously I have two)
  • An umbrella / poncho (it’s Austin, you never know)
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks (granola bars, Cheez-its, whatever you like, because you will be waiting in lines more than likely)
  • Tylenol for when the sun starts giving you a headache
  • YOUR ID. (nowhere, I REPEAT nowhere will let you in without confirming it’s your name on the RSVP)


The best part about SXSW is the secret stuff – or rather the stuff you may have forgot about after RSVPing 80 gazillion times. My first SXSW in 2014, I stumbled into the Kiss FM party and got to meet Sir Mix A Lot and see T.I. play. In 2015, I was front row for Twenty One Pilots (they blew up maybe 3 months later). In 2016, I got into a private Miguel show. 

Also, don’t be a snob about music, go to a hip hop showcase or a psychedelic show, try new stuff out. You never know where you’re going to come across your new favorite artist.  


Just like you, there are people coming to Austin from everywhere. Make friends! Don’t be afraid to talk to each other – you never know, someone might know about an event that you don’t and BOOM just like that, you have something else to do. 

Update: If you meet an Austinite, don’t ask us how much our rent is, instead ask us how to get to the Breaking Bad Los Pollios pop-up

You could also change your settings on Bumble to BFF mode and find other awesome people to meet up with and hang out! 

Tip #5: HAVE FUN. 

Snapchat everything, use Instagram, put on those fake tattoos at Mashable House. Enjoy every minute of it. And as soon as it’s over, start planning for next year. 

SXSW 2016, Random Taco Ladies



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