Surviving South By Southwest – Your 2011 SXSW Guide

sxsw 385 Surviving South By Southwest   Your 2011 SXSW GuideHere in Chicago, we are not strangers to the music festival. The summer months are filled with an ever-expanding collection of events in and around the city. From the Chicago Blues Festival to the legendary Lollapalooza to newcomer North Coast, there is certainly no shortage of entertainment for those who love a live show here in the windy city, but warm weather calls for exploration and trying new things. Why not check out what the rest of the U.S. has to offer?

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Click PLAY to take on other XRT listeners in SXSW 2011 Trivia Frenzy.

One of the nation’s most alluring and unique festivals takes place in Austin, Texas. Every spring, thousands of fans, artists and industry people flock to the multi-media Mecca known as South By Southwest. More than a music festival, SXSW offers a film festival, a multitude of musical performances and, during the “interactive” portion of the event, presentations by the people on the front lines of technology and media. If you’re looking for the ultimate music and media event, SXSW is for for you. But before you pack your bags and buy a ticket, stop and think about what you’re getting into. An event that has this much to offer calls for some careful planning and preparation. You don’t want to end up broke, sore and disappointed. With a bit of foresight, you can have an unforgettable South By Southwest experience.

Let’s start with lodging. Veterans of the festival say your best bet is to stay as close to the main venue, The Austin Convention Center, as possible. Staying in town may be a bit pricey, but travel costs from outside of the city add up, and having a home base close to events will give you more flexibility and chances to rest and regroup when planning your days, and more freedom to live it up at night.

Speaking of nightlife, don’t forget about the parties. One of the biggest draws of SXSW is the abundance of networking opportunities. RSVP to any party that you think you might enjoy, and make it to as many as possible. Don’t stretch yourself too thin though. Remember what you came for: the music.

The number of performances that take place during South By South West is hard to calculate. There are at least 25 venues involved, and between secret shows and last-minute add-ons, it will most likely be impossible to see everything that you’re interested in. Again, planning comes in handy. Do you best to figure out who you NEED to see, and go from there. Factor in some time for aimless wandering. This event is made for exploring.

A few performers that will be around SXSW include [lastfm]The Strokes[/lastfm], [lastfm]Flogging Molly[/lastfm], [lastfm]The Bangles[/lastfm], [lastfm]Chromeo[/lastfm], [lastfm]Filter[/lastfm], [lastfm]Bright Eyes[/lastfm], [lastfm]Cold War Kids[/lastfm], [lastfm]Meat Puppets[/lastfm], and [lastfm]Cee Lo Green[/lastfm]. There are at least 960 artists in the works, so check out the full schedule here.

South By Southwest will most definitely provide a fantastic festival experience, as long as you don’t burn out. Drink plenty of water and eat food that will fuel your body for all the walking and standing that you’ll be doing. There are plenty of opportunities to drink,. but don’t overdo it. Loud music and hangovers do not mix well. Pack light, stretch, and use earplugs. Don’t worry. No one will think you’re too old.

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