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SXSW Southwest Music Conference and Festival in Austin TX

Jammin' Texas Style

Do you consider music to be right at the top of your list of must-haves to make you happy? Are you never without your iPod and constantly updating your play list? Austin’s music festival, SXSW, was invented for you! Hang with like-minded people listening to band after band, catching a film or two, eating, drinking and having a great time is what this famous fest is all about!

Since 1987, Austin, Texas has hosted the widely recognized SXSW (Southwest Music Conference and Festival). Through the years it has grown and grown, offering an opportunity for music industry folks to get together to network and develop their careers, and also for the general public to see a great number of up-and-coming musicians and those who have already hit it big. In 1994, SXSW Film was born, so now fest goers have the opportunity to watch over 140 films. It is no mistake that this fabulous festival is known world-wide!

Austin TX USThis year’s SXSW dates are March 9-18. Last year the festival offered 92 stages boasting over 2,000 acts with over a quarter of those international. Austin is special in that it offers a central district filled with musical venues, making it the perfect locale to have such a fest. There are different badges available for purchase at different price levels – be aware, this festival can be pricey! Registration for those who purchased badges is March 8 for Film and March 13 for Music. The festival’s film screenings begin on March 9 and music showcases start March 13.

During the festival, panel discussions, book signings, book readings, workshops, parties, etc. are held at the Convention Center and at various hotel venues throughout downtown Austin. Events start in the morning and extend waaaay into the wee hours. At night, SXSW sanctions dozens of stages in the downtown area, featuring hundreds and hundreds of exciting acts.

There are a great many shows which are not “official” SXSW sanctioned; you can get into many of these shows for free, and sometimes there is free food and drink as well. Oftentimes these shows are earlier in the day, but the headliners don't necessarily only play one time! With the advent of Twitter, you can find out about “secret shows” and free shows, not necessarily having to have connections to find out about them anymore! Pre-parties and after-parties are commonplace as well.

Getting around Austin, particularly the downtown area, is easy, with Capital Metro offering inexpensive and reliable transportation. Busses stop at many of the musical venues, so driving is not necessary. As a matter of fact, many fest-goers bring bicycles to get around from show to show quickly. Taxis and pedicabs are plentiful as well. If you purchased a badge, you might be interested to know that a new program, SXcycles, will be in place. It is a complimentary bike share program available during the festival. Go green!

Since the festival headquarters is located in the convention center, the hotels closest to it are likely to be largely sold out by now, so what to do? Why not consider staying out a little farther, perhaps in Northwest Austin. You’ll save a ton of cash by booking a hotel away from downtown, and Metro Rail brings you into the city weekdays and Saturdays. This festival is so well-attended that many locals rent out their apartments or homes, so you can check for rooms available by the night as well. Another idea is to peruse your contact list and utilize Facebook to see who you know living in or near Austin. Maybe it's time to re-connect with an old friend! Some hotels provide shuttles, too. Austin is ready for you!

In addition to the music shows, film screenings, workshops and discussions, there is a Golf Tournament on Wednesday, March 14 at the Riverside Golf Club. This tourney has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities. The annual Barbecue and Softball tournament is being held on March 18 at Monroe “Lefty” Kreig softball complex. If you purchased badges, these festivities might be fun to attend, even if just for free beer and BBQ!

Speaking of food, a few cool places to eat great BBQ include Stubb’s, Franklin’s and the Salt Lick (about 20 miles from downtown). Check our Austin TX City Guide to read about all the local attractions and exciting things to do while visiting. The city is home to the state capitol, the University of Texas and a number of renowned golf courses. The spring weather is amazing! One classic tradition not to be missed is watching the Mexican bats under the Congress Ave bridge downtown – either stand on the bridge or even cooler, rent a kayak to watch their daily flight.

SXSW gives you the perfect reason to take a trip to Austin. Let be your guide!

With any major event or attraction, creating great travel plans can make or break your experience. For SXSW, making your travel plans as far in advance as possible is helpful. An option is to book an Austin TX hotel and air package deal. If you are bringing the whole family, never fear as we offer all the Austin  TX Discount Hotels at the lowest prices. Choosing a downtown Austin TX hotel is a great choice, with the venues close by. If you are budget-minded, check out our Austin TX Last-Minute Weekend Deals for unbelievably low prices


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