I spent spring break with 10 of my friends in Austin at SXSW. It was great. Official tickets cost like 800 bucks so we definitely didn’t do that. Instead, we RSVP’d to a fuckload of parties and saw a bunch of music and drank a lot for mostly free! Here’s a few tips on how to pull it off.
1. SPEND AS LITTLE MONEY AS POSSIBLE
There is SO MUCH free shit in Austin. Oh my god. It’s nearly impossible to walk more than a block or two during SXSW without someone trying to give you something for free. All of the biggest parties have all kinds of free alcohol and it’s usually unlimited. Start-ups will give you free tacos if you download their dumbass app and you can delete it 30 seconds later (although some of them are cool, I guess). I got a free massage!!! The masseuse accidentally stole my sunglasses, but whatever, I was limber. There are bunches of twitter accounts that you can follow that post all the free shit going on throughout the week. They’re all pretty douchey but they tell you where to get free booze so yolo. I probably spent 60 bucks collectively all week on booze and that’s literally unheard of. My bar tabs for a night are more than that if i’m feeling generous. Then spend all the money you’re saving on booze on accommodations because sharing a one bedroom apartment with ten other people for a week is not unlike sleeping inside dirty underwear. It’s hot, sweaty and it smells like balls. That being said…
2. STAY CLOSE TO DOWNTOWN
It’s pretty easy to find someplace to stay. AirBnB is great for renting an apartment or something and it’s pretty nice to have a little kitchen. If you’re planning way out and rolling in dough, stay in a hotel downtown. We stayed a few miles from downtown and the bike ride at 3 AM after all that free booze was kind of prohibitive. We took a lot of cabs. While that might seem glamorous and cosmopolitan to you country bumpkins, it’s really not that great.
3. RSVP TO EVERYTHING
There is so much going on during SXSW that it’s impossible to go to even half of all the stuff you want to go to. Despite that, RSVP to everything you want to go to. RSVPs aren’t as important for smaller stuff but for the big stuff like Fader Fort and Hype Hotel it’s essential, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. There’s great websites to find stuff like Show List Austin, Do 512, and lurk your favorite artists on the internet because a lot of them post their schedules. Record labels and booking agents host stuff too so check them out. And let me reiterate, RSVP = free shit. Usually shitty beer but it’s better than paying 5 bucks for a PBR.
4. IF THERE’S SOMETHING YOU REALLY WANT TO GO TO, JUST PAY FOR IT
Blah blah free stuff is great, and it might seem like I’m contradicting myself, but if there’s something that you’re absolutely dying to go to then just buy a ticket to it. We went on a cruise of the river with Kingdom, Bok Bok, Machinedrum, Jimmy Edgar, Nick Hook, Jubilee and free tequila and Red Stripe and it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Like, Top 5 parties of all time, I’ve never been happier, my life is complete. It was 30 bucks and worth every penny. And when they ran out of ice on the boat the bartender gave me a free shot of tequila “to make up for it”. What? IDK, but it was awesome.
5. DON’T BURN OUT
We flew down on Sunday and music doesn’t really get cranked up until Tuesday/Wednesday. I guess the theory was that we wanted to maximize our break and get the fuck out of Chapel Hill but holy god that was unnecessary. We kind of went way too hard the first few days we were there so that by the time music got started we were already at depleted energy levels. By the end of the week we were literally too exhausted to function. I almost passed out riding back from a show on Saturday, like actually blurred vision and almost passed out. So save your energy for the stuff you really want to go to cuz I missed some of the best parties of the week on Saturday night. If you mention Fade to Mind or Night Slugs or Boiler Room around me for the next month I will kill you. On that note, don’t forget to eat and drink water. The booze is appealing but the water is just as free so keep yr hydration game on point. Pace yourself. Eat some vegetables. People cannot survive on carbs alone
6. DO RANDOM SHIT
If you have a spare moment (you won’t) or you’ve already seen the band you’re about to see three times, go do something weird. I went to a show with a colleague and ended up staying for the next band on a whim and like, fell in love with this band San Cisco. They’re some twee ass little hipsters from Australia and everyone knows I’m a sucker for an accent. Plus they’re really cute. It’s some harmless ass pop that can warm even my cold and bitter heart so you’ll probably go apeshit. OMG.
So that’s how I lived through a week in Austin. It was great. I was kind of gunning to meet my future husband but it didn’t happen. Hopefully I’ll get a job. Here’s a gratuitous picture of me shot by some dude for Noisey which is Vice’s music thing. I look like shit and i’m really sunburned. The caption on the photo was “Darby”. IDK
PEACE AND BLESSINGS ~~~~