SXSW for Locals
SXSW is one of Austin’s largest festivals. Oops – I almost wrote MUSIC festival, but I corrected myself. You see, SXSW is much, much more than a music festival. There are 3 different sections of the festival including Music, Film, and Interactive. Now, music and film are somewhat self-explanatory, but what is Interactive? Only perhaps the most unusual and unique portion of the conference, focusing on cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity. Other distinct SXSW entities include SXSWedu and SXSW Eco. Basically, what you need to know is that SXSW is HUGE, there are different portions, and it causes a large number of influential people (and those who want to be influenced) to converge in downtown Austin for approximately two weeks in mid-March.
So, we know that many people whose businesses, identities, and very livelihoods depend on their participation in SXSW will be in attendance, sporting their $1,000+ badges to gain access to sessions.
But what about Austin locals?
Is there any way for an average Austinite to get a taste of SXSW experience without taking out a second mortgage or taking a 2 week leave of absence? The answer is definitely yes! Here are some of our favorite SXSW activities for Austin locals. Here are some of our favorites - and the good news is you won't need a badge for any of them!
SXSW Create Fri. 3/13– Sun. 3/15 11 am – 6pm Long Center
From 3D printing to drones to biohacking and much more, this community event showcases revolutionary things that are being done with new technologies. Ideal for those interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.
Beers and Barks Yappy Hour Sat, 3/14 noon – 4pm Bar 96 on Rainey
Austinites love our dogs, and at this happy hour Austin Pets Alive! will have adoptable pups for playtime – and perhaps a forever home - as you grab some beer and food.
SXSW Gaming Expo Fri. 3/13– Sun. 3/15 noon – 8pm Palmer Events Center
The gaming expo covers everything from video games, and animation to board games, comics, and toys. We were introduced to one of our family’s favorite board games, Qwirkle, here 2 years ago and you can bet we will be back!
KGSR Live Wed. 3/8 – Sat. 3/21
6am – 10am (8am – noon on Sat.) W Hotel
For a $5 donation to Make-A-Wish Foundation, you’ll enjoy 4 hours of live interviews and performances from featured artists. The small setting combined with the low price and early hour makes these broadcasts ideal for families.
Eco Lightgarden Sun. 3/15 – Sat. 3/21 7pm – 2am Republic Square Park
This annual project offers a peaceful escape from the crowds and offers a chance to interact with and be inspired by the latest efficient LED technologies.
But perhaps a local’s favorite thing to do is to volunteer at SXSW. More than 3,500 volunteers contribute countless hours of time to ensure the festivals’ success. Volunteers earn perks based on the number of shifts worked. Perks can range from t-shirts to platinum (all-access) badges.