Tips from SXSW veterans

If you have never been to SXSW, it’s kind of hard to describe. You only really get it after you’ve experienced it in person. One of the many unique things about it is that, yes, there’s an official part with lots of big-name speakers, talks and shows for official badge holders - but that’s only one part of the story. During SXSW, the whole city turns into a big event venue. Every company who wants to make a splash has secured a central location (like a cafe, restaurant, etc.) and turns this into a Company House. Just imagine any other big city where the main streets are closed for 2+ weeks and every location gets temporarily taken over to show something exciting and bring people together. How cool is that?

So make sure, when you’re going to SXSW, to not just go to the official conference venues, but rather also check out the rest of the city as well. Most of the interesting things happen around 6th Street, and that is exactly where BerlinSaloon is also located.

SXSW main stage

Here are some more useful tips from Infopark’s SXSW veterans:

  • Bring comfortable clothing. This is not a formal event, your jacket and tie can stay at home. You will walk A LOT, So make sure to bring comfortable shoes.
  • Austin is already hot at that time of the year. Make sure, to bring sunscreen and layering clothes (hoodie for inside and a t-shirt for outside).
  • Drink a lot of water (or bring a refillable bottle). Staying hydrated is super-important!
  • Check and mark events you don’t want to miss. Don’t worry if you have a lot of overlapping events, that happens all the time. Just make sure you KNOW what you want to see and then make your decisions on the fly.
  • A lot of SXSW is go-with-the-flow. Talk to people. Everybody is open and friendly and can recommend their highlights, and provide tips to secret events and parties. This event is about networking. If you’re standing around, just approach groups and make an introduction. Leave your comfort zone - remember, there are a lot of big names going to SXSW. So you might be talking to a VP of a corporation without knowing. So make sure you bring a lot of business cards.

  • Your phone is the most precious thing. Without connectivity and the ability to check events on the fly, you’re lost. Get a local SIM card when you arrive in the US with a lot of data. Never leave the hotel without the charger and an extra power bank.
  • Most of the showcases and events fill up quickly, make sure you get there early (often 15-30’ in advance). Be prepared for long lines, treat them as part of the whole experience, while you’re in the line: Talk to people.
  • Get at least an account for Uber and maybe also for Lyft. Getting a taxi is impossible, everybody’s using Uber at SXSW. If you get stuck, try Ride Austin - a non-profit rideshare service created by the local community, one of the widely available bike cabs or hire your own bike with SXcycles program and B-Cycle.
  • Don’t overschedule – plan some free time between panels and conferences for networking or simply making friends. Leave FOMO at home and remember that nothing ever goes according to plan.
SXSW trumpet musician
SXSW 2019

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