1. Pack appropriate clothing! It’s all well and good wanting to look like cool guys but when you land in Austin to 75° in a pair of doc martens and black jeans with three jackets to avoid more luggage charges, you will regret it! Coming from Scotland, where I’m almost certain it has never been that warm ever, I was caught out wearing too much and looking the opposite of cool.
2. Plan your itinerary meticulously. If there are bands you really want to see when you’re at SXSW – and no doubt everyone you’ve wanted to see for years will be playing – then you need to really organise your time well. If you happen to be playing a lot of shows over the week then you pretty much half your chances of seeing everyone you want to, but if you are lucky enough to get time off over the week it’s best not to be standing around and scratching your head whilst missing that seminal show by someone you love.
3. Never underestimate the power of the Big Gulp. If you need to drink and eat on the cheap, then keep a mental note of any 7/11 you pass. When you’ve partied all of your money away on 6th Street but really need something to eat, you can get yourself a massive soda and a hot dog for $2 and you’ll be ready to start it all over again.
4. Eat some good BBQ. Even though the pace of SXSW is so fast, take an evening to remember you’re in Texas and in the birthplace of the best barbecue you can eat. I would suggest going to the Ironworks on Red River, or if you’re willing to queue all day, head to Franklin’s on East 11th. Both are incredible and will provide you with ribs the size of your head cooked to perfection.
5. Spend time on Rainey Street. I only discovered Rainey Street on my second to last day at South By and I wish I’d found it sooner. It’s a bunch of venues in people’s houses and other famous Austin venues and just has a really different atmosphere to 6th Street. Well worth a visit!
This special “SXSW edition” guest blog was brought to you by Scottish alternative rock trio Fatherson, who just concluded their first appearance at the festival earlier this week. The band’s debut album, I Am An Island, was released last year via A Modern Way Records and you can check out the music video for the sixth track “Mine For Me” below. If you dig it as much as we do, you can purchase a CD here.