From talks on colonizing Mars by Telsa's visionary CEO Elon Musk to secret SXSW performances by The Flaming Lips, SXSW is America's biggest contemporary culture festival. The 'South by Southwest' festival is often abbreviated by Austin locals to 'South By', so ubiquitous is it in the city. Drawing cultural leaders from all corners of the globe, SXSW focuses on thought leadership and innovation, music, film, environmentalism and tech. Interactive exhibits join concerts and big name collaborators to make this one of the foremost festivals in the world today. Don't miss out on the action, with SXSW Hotels.
With such a comprehensive and attention-drawing program and some 150,000 other festival goers navigating SXSW is perhaps the central challenge posed by this spectacular cultural event. Running from mid-March for ten days, the festival is truly vast in its scope. Here are some helpful tips for getting around SXSW:
1. SXSW Festival Shuttles
Free shuttles circulate between Austin's Convention Center and the majority of SZSW venues. Peak hours are 9AM and 7PM but the shuttle begins at 9AM and finishes at 2.30 AM. There is only one route, making it a challenge to actually get lost, and you can pick up the shuttle on Trinity Street.
2. Private Transportation S
ervices include car2go (a Mercedes self-hire service), Lyft (the festival's Official Rideshare Partner), and Austin B-Cycle, the city's favourite cycle hire. Pedi and electric cabs also run from SXSW Vacation Rentals to the city center and festival venues.
3. Public Transportation
Besides the fleet of private transport services on offer at the festival, you can also opt for bus services from CapMetro. Austin's premier regional transport provider is an inexpensive way of getting from SXSW Hotels to the festival. A map app on your smartphone is a smart idea too.
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Top Tips to Know Before You Go to SXSW Music Festival
It is painful to attend SXSW and miss that secret show, crucial afterparty or performance by your favourite band. Here are some handy hints for negotiating the crowds, keeping ahead of the game and generally optimizing your experience of SXSW Festival:
While the all access Platinum Badge costs around $2,000, literally every venue in Austin offers parties, networking events and other entertainments. There is also a proliferation of inexpensive and even free food at the festival.
Expect crowds at some of the events you have planned to see and have plan B and C for all your major time-slots just in case you arrive to vast queues. It is also a good idea to RSVP ahead of time to all of the free events and parties and keep your eyes open for social media coverage of the festival.
If you are a representative of any kind, make sure you do your homework before arriving so you can maximize your networking opportunities once the festival is underway. Try not to get carried away on day one and peak too early. The festival's app provides relevant badges and passes and is useful for scheduling and social media coverage of the events.
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Biggest Moments in SXSW History
The festival is such a phenomenon that President Obama delivered the keynote speech while he was still in office. Artists launch their records at the festival, others were discovered here, and the tech component of the festival became so popular that spin off festivals sprang up. From Johnny Cash's keynote to pop-up performances by movers and shakers of all kinds, the festival sparks special zeal and innovation in its attendees:
1. The Flaming Lips Parking Lot Experitment
Voted one of the most important festival performances of all time, the Flaming Lips' Parking Lot Experiment #4 saw thirty cars play tapes simultaneously to a crowd of a thousand onlookers. This unconventional performance style became a trademark of the band, who have returned to SXSW in successive years.
2. The birth of Mumblecore
Austin's film industry has grown along with SXSW, producing a new genre, Mumblecore. Defined by low production costs the genre has produced industry legends such as Joe Swanberg, Andrew Bujalski and the Duplass brothers. HBO, Netflix and various other movie studios have since embraced their work.
3. The birth of Twitter
Famously, Twitter began at SXSW. Although the company launched some nine months earlier, SXSW was the first event to properly implement the service, offering flat screen demos in the Austin Convention Center. The social media platform is still central to the event.
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The Weather in Austin
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