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SXSW 2015

  • How do I get to and from Austin?

    If you decide to fly to Austin, you can do so from just about anywhere in the United States. The most convenient option will be to arrive at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, which is just 20 minutes from Downtown Austin. The Capital Metro Airport Flyer costs $1 and leaves the airport every 30 minutes, seven days a week. In addition, R&R Airport Shuttle provides a shared van service from the Austin airport, making stops in Downtown Austin during SXSW. If you can't get a direct flight to Austin, San Antonio International Airport is an hour away from Austin, providing a suitable and convenient second option.

    If you choose to take the train, Amtrak reaches almost every corner of the country. The Austin station stop is at 250 North Lamar Boulevard, just a 20 minute bus ride or 30 minute walk to Downtown Austin.

    You can also get to Austin by bus. There is a Greyhound bus station near the Highland Mall, which is about 15 minutes away from Downtown Austin. MegaBus offers service from San Antonio, Dallas and Houston; the bus stops on Whitis Avenue, between West 20th and West 21st Street, on the University of Texas campus.

    If you're driving into Austin, be sure to observe the "No Parking" signs around the city -- you will get towed if you park in an illegal spot. The Austin Convention Center has two covered parking garages, one on 2nd Street, and one on 5th Street. Prices range from $3-$11, but be sure to call ahead, as they may increase during the festival

  • What area is the festival in? How do I get around?

    Most SXSW events are concentrated in Downtown Austin, which is fairly easy to navigate on foot. If you want to catch a ride, pedicabs are your best option -- they may be more expensive than regular taxis, but they're easier to find, and due to road closures during SXSW, they have an easier time getting around.

    To catch a regular taxi, you can try flagging one down, or you can call for a pick-up:

    Lone Star Cab: +1 (512) 836-4900
    Yellow Cab: +1 (512) 452-9999
    Austin Cab Company: +1 (512) 478-2222

    If your hotel isn't in the downtown area, there are several options when it comes to getting around the city. South by Southwest operates a Hotel Shuttle (you should register in advance), which runs "all day and almost all night" of the conference. The shuttle stops at over 50 official SXSW hotels every 30-45 minutes. You can reserve your spot on the shuttle for the full week of SXSW Music for $60.

    The public transportation system is operated by Capital Metro, which offers three transportation options: MetroBus, MetroRail, and UT Shuttles. Your mode of transportation will depend on where you're coming from and the time of day; use Capital Metro's Trip Planner to figure out which option is best for you. MetroBus runs from 5am-midnight Monday-Saturday, and from 6am-Midnight on Sundays. MetroRail runs from 6am-7pm, Monday-Thursday, and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. UT Shuttles are open to the general public; non-students pay regular fare. On weekdays, the first bus departs 23rd at San Jacinto at 7:25am, and the last bus departs at 10:45pm. On Sundays, the first bus departs 23rd at San Jacinto at 2:10pm, and the last bus departs at 10:50pm. The shuttle does not operate on Saturdays, except during exams.

    Another popular way to get around Austin is by bike. There are a number of bike rental rental shops in Downtown Austin:

    Mellow Johnny's: 400 Nueces Street / +1 (512) 473-0222
    Austin Bike Tours & Rentals: 900 Red River Street / +1 (512) 277-0609
    Barton Springs Bike Rental: 1707 Barton Springs Road / +1 (512) 480-0200
    Bicycle Sport Shop: 517 South Lamar Boulevard / +1 (512) 477-3472

  • Do I need a badge?

    Although you don’t necessarily need a conference badge to survive the week, it makes getting into events much easier. Some events are so popular, the line stretches around the block. With a badge, you can (usually) skip the line and get in immediately and, for official music showcases, badgeholders are given priority for venue admittance. If capacity allows, those with wristbands may also be admitted. If you choose not to procure a badge or a wristband, you can pay a cover charge for entry, generally between $5 and $25. Keep in mind that those without a badge or wristband are given the lowest priority for entrance and may not be allowed at all for official events.

    While badges are pricey, if you plan on attending numerous showcases, keynotes, and panels, the Music Badge is the way to go. In addition to priority admission to the shows, the Music Badge allows admittance to the Music Conference as well as the trade show, dinners, and other networking opportunities. For those interested in more than just music, check out the other badge options by scrolling down to "What are the ticket options?".

    If you don't have a badge, get to each venue early and have a solid back-up plan in case you are not granted admission. Many artists perform at more than one event, so be sure to research daytime gigs, as they may be easier to get into. Before you go, sign up for as many mailing lists as you can so you'll be the first to know when RSVPs open up for each event.

  • What time does it start and end?

    Panel events begin as early as 9am, with film and music ending as late as 2am. If you're looking for places to party even later into the night (or earlier into the morning), after parties will rage into the morning hours.

  • Is reentry allowed?

    Since SXSW takes place at a number of venues and not one main festival site, reentry will depend on the specific venue's reentry policy. If you do need to reenter, be sure to have proof of entry, and check with the doorman before leaving if you have any doubts. Keep in mind that even if reentry is permitted, you may have to wait in line again.

  • Are there any prohibited items?

    Policies will vary by venue, but use common sense - weapons, drugs, and outside food and drink will likely be prohibited. Some venues also prohibit professional cameras unless you have a photo or press pass, so it's best to call ahead or check the venue's website to avoid an issue.

  • What's the deal with food and beverages?

    SXSW is notorious for its free food offerings, especially during the day. Many venues will have a bar menu, but if not, downtown Austin is stocked with food options - find our favorites in the EAT Section.

    Alcoholic beverages will also be widely available. The majority of the shows take place at bars and music venues, after all. As with the food, many events will also have free options and sponsored deals. These tend to be the busiest events, but best if you're looking to make it through SXSW without breaking the bank.

  • What do I need to know about money?

    Credit cards will be widely accepted at bars, stores, and restaurants around the city. Many venues, however, switch to cash-only to keep up with the fast pace nature of the festival. If you run out of cash, no worries, ATMs are readily available though not favorable considering their high service fees. Try to get cash out from your bank before starting your day.

  • What will the weather be like?

    March in Austin is beautiful, with highs in the 70°s F (21°C) during the day and dropping as low as 50°F (10°C) at night. If it's sunny, the highs feel even higher.

    Find more about Weather in Austin, TX
    Click for weather forecast

  • What should I wear?

    Although you won't necessarily be outside all day like many music festivals, you should still aim to dress for comfort. Comfortable shoes are recommended for running from showcase to showcase. Remember that while shorts are the norm for the sunny days, the temperature will drop in the evening - if you won't be heading back to your hotel for a break, bring a light jacket. Besides that, wear what you usually would to a concert!

    Conference attire truly depends on your goals. You should always dress respectably but you don't have to be in professional attire. Unless, that is, you aim to network up a storm. If that's the case, dress to impress.

  • What should I bring?

    If you're in the music industry, business cards are a must as the festival is one large networking opportunity. Remember to bring earplugs to offset the damage of attending so many shows. A water bottle to stay hydrated between showcases is a great idea, though some venues won't allow them inside for fear you've spiked it. Austin will have everything you need, so you're in luck if you do happen to forget something.

  • Does the festival have a mobile app?

    While the 2015 mobile app is not yet available, SXSW will release one closer to the festival dates.

  • What are the ticket options?

    SXSW is longer than most festivals, and includes a variety of components. Film, Music, and Interactive Badges can be purchased separately, or you can opt for the Gold or Platinum Badges to mix and match features.

    Badge Options 
    Platinum Badge: $1575 through January 16
    The Platinum Badge includes 9 Days of Film Festival Screenings & Premieres, 9 Days of Film, Interactive, Music Programming and Keynotes, 6 Nights of the SXSW Music Festival, 4 Days of SXSW Trade Show: The Exhibition for Creative Industries, 4 Days of Radio and International Day Stage Showcases, Unlimited Networking Opportunities, Interactive Awards and Pre-Party, SXSW Interactive Accelerator, Film Awards and Pre-Party
    Featured Speakers and Q&A Sessions, Film One-on-One Mentor Sessions and Workshops, Music One-on-One Mentor Sessions and Workshops, All SXSW Interactive Programming, including Convergence Programming, SXSW Gaming Expo, Online SXsocial, Productivity and Networking Tools, Registrant Lounges, Demo Listening Sessions, Continuing Legal Education Program (CLE), SXSW Music Accelerator, Official Film, Interactive, Music Parties including all Opening, Closing and Intermission Parties, Closing BBQ and Softball Tournament, Film, Interactive, Music Registrant Big Bags
    Flatstock Concert Poster Exhibition, Film, Interactive, Music Program Book/Registrants' Directories, Annual Subscription to SXSWorld Magazine (normally priced at $20), SXXpress Pass (South by Express), and access to the Music Gear Expo

    Gold Badge: $1295 through January 16
    The Gold Badge includes 9 Days of Film Festival Screenings and Premieres, 5 Days of Film and Interactive Programming and Keynotes, 4 Days of SXSW Trade Show: The Exhibition for Creative Industries, 4 Days of Day Stage Programming, Unlimited Networking Opportunities, Interactive Awards and Pre-Party, SXSW Interactive Accelerator, Film Awards and Pre-Party, Featured Speakers and Q&A sessions, Film One-on-One Mentor Sessions and Workshops, All SXSW Interactive Programming, including Convergence Programming, SXSW Gaming Expo, Online SXsocial, Productivity and Networking Tools, Registrant Lounges, Continuing Legal Education Program (CLE), Official Film and Interactive Parties including all Opening, Closing and Intermission Parties, Film and Interactive Registrant Big Bags, Film and Interactive Program Book/Registrants' Directories, Annual Subscription to SXSWorld Magazine (normally priced at $20), and a SXXpress Pass (South by Express).

    Music Badge: $750 through January 16
    The Music Badge includes 6 Nights of the SXSW Music Festival, 5 Days of Music Panels, Keynotes, and Q&A Sessions, 4 Days of SXSW Trade Show: The Exhibition for Creative Industries, 4 Days of Radio and International Day Stage Showcases, Unlimited Networking Opportunities
    Registrant Lounges, Online SXsocial, Productivity and Networking Tools, Official SXSW Music Parties, Closing BBQ and Softball Tournament, Demo Listening Sessions, Music One-on-One Mentor Sessions and Workshops, Music Registrant Big Bag, Music Program Book/Registrants' Directory, Continuing Legal Education Program (CLE), Annual Subscription to, SXSWorld Magazine (normally priced at $20), Flatstock Concert Poster Exhibition, Music Gear Expo, and SXXpress Pass (South by Express).

    Film Badge: $625 through January 16
    The Film Badge includes 9 Days of Film Festival Screenings and Premieres, 5 Days of Film Panels, Featured Conversations, and Q&A Sessions, 5 Days of Convergence Panels, Film One-on-One Mentor Sessions and Workshops, 4 Days of The SXSW Trade Show: The Exhibition for Creative Industries, 4 Days of Day Stage Programming, Unlimited Networking Opportunities
    Film Awards and Pre-Party, Online SXsocial, Productivity and Networking Tools, SXSW Gaming Expo, Registrant Lounges, Official SXSW Film Parties including the Opening and Intermission Parties, Continuing Legal Education Program (CLE), Film Registrant Big Bag, Film Program Book/Registrants' Directory, Annual Subscription to SXSWorld Magazine (normally priced at $20), Flatstock Concert Poster Exhibition, and SXXpress Pass (South by Express).

    Interactive Badge: $1095 through January 16
    The Interactive Badge includes 5 Days of Interactive Panels, Keynotes, and Featured Speakers, All SXSW Interactive Programming, including Convergence Programming, 4 Days of SXSW Trade Show: The Exhibition for Creative Industries, Unlimited Networking Opportunities with Cutting-Edge New Media Innovators, Interactive Awards and Pre-Party, Interactive Evening Events, SXSW Interactive Accelerator, Registrant Lounges, SXSW Gaming Expo, Online SXsocial, Productivity and Networking Tools, Continuing Legal Education Program (CLE), Interactive Registrant Big Bag, Interactive Program Book/Registrants’ Directory, and an Annual Subscription to SXSWorld Magazine (normally priced at $20).

  • Is there anything else I need to know?

    It is always a good idea to have a back up plan during SXSW. If there is a band you really want to see, look at their schedule as they'll most likely be playing more than once. If an event has a stellar lineup and a prominent curator, get there early to guarantee entry and always search for RSVPs lists, even if you have a badge.