Now that you know all about the
coolest party in town each March,
how do you get in? It all depends
how much you want to spend.In
past years, prices ranged from $495
;early registration, film;only badge;
to $1695 (walk-up registration badge),
depending on which pieces of the
festival you wanted to attend.
The Platinum Badge gets you into
all SXSW Music, Film and Interactive
Events; the Music Badge covers all
SXSW Music & Media Conference and
Festival events; the Gold Badge offers
access to all SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive events; the Film Badge gets you
into all the SXSW Film Conference and
Festival events; and the Interactive
Badge is your ticket to all SXSW Interactive Festival and ScreenBurn events.
Wristbands are also available, which
are less expensive than badges.
But keep in mind that the wristband
doesn’t get you into the industry/
conference part of the event, and
that access to shows and films is on
a first;come, first;serve basis because
Platinum Badge holders and specific
Film or Music Badge holders are
SXSW Interactive is typically scheduled to be held in mid- March with
SXSW Film and SXSW Music following
Be sure to order your badges or wristbands early because they sellout
quickly and they go up in price, over
time. Remember to only trust the
official S;SW site; www.sxsw.com.
Registration typically opens in early
August. Keep checking the website for
the exact date and other details.
groundbreaking and often controversial
independent films. Directors and stars
often introduce their works and talk about
them after the show – and offerings include
everything from big-budget Hollywood
studio productions to edgy, independent
films made on a shoestring budget.
SXSW also hosts the annual (and very
popular) Texas High School Film Competition, which “supports and cultivate the
state’s next generation of filmmakers.”
Eligibility is limited to Texas students
enrolled in the 9th through 12th grades for
the full academic year. A panel of independent filmmakers and industry figures judge
the submissions, with prizes – including
SXSW Film registrations – awarded for
first, second, and third place. All films
chosen as finalists are shown in a special
program as part of the regular SXSW Film
SXSW Music wraps up the conference, and
there’s a clear distinction when film and
interactive ends and when music begins.
The annual Austin Music Awards kicks
off the music portion of SXSW, and it’s a
can’t-miss event. Get tickets when they go
on sale, because it sells out every year.
Each year, SXSW music welcomes thousands of acts representing 55 countries at
over 100 venues. The alumni of this event
reads like a Grammy winners guest sheet.
Producer, composer and arranger, Quincy
Jones came in 2009, while rocker Bruce
Springsteen was the keynote speaker in
2012 and rocker Dave Grohl of Nirvana
fame was the keynote speaker in 2013.
Lady Gaga had the honors in 2014. In past
years, other SXSW speakers and performers
have included Pete Townsend, Jeff Beck,
David Byrne, Shawn Colvin, Tony Bennett,
Johnny Cash, Sheryl Crow, Billy Idol,
Philip Glass, Wyclef Jean, Robert Plant,
Willie Nelson, Tori Amos, The B52s, 50
cent, and Justin Timberlake.
Though SXSW is an industry conference,
the opportunity to see bands from all over
the world – especially up-and-coming
artists – is far too tempting for many
music fans, many of whom travel from
around the country and the world just
to check out the newest bands. Even if
you’re a music lover short on cash, you’ll
still see and hear great music. SXSW
Music offers free shows three nights a
week at Auditorium Shores during the
festival with great artists. Elvis Costello,
Alejandro Escovedo and The Strokes
have all played free shows here.
There are also tons of other musical
events that happen outside the official
festival. In particular, the shows on South
Congress Avenue and South Lamar have
grown into their own – including a fun,
quirky festival of music known to locals
as South By South Austin.
AND HAVE FUN!
Best bet? No matter what you want to see
at SXSW, be prepared and have a plan.
Whether it’s a hot band, new film, or top
technology speaker, it’s best to arrive as
early as possible. SXSW involves a lot of
standing in line, so be prepared for that,
too. For music, the wristband covers the
admission price, but if it’s a hot show,
arrive early and keep your fingers crossed.
Everything depends on space available
after SXSW badge holders are admitted.
SXSW underscores Austin’s undisputed
position as a creative nexus of entertainment, and as Austinites, we’re proud to
call it our own each March. Whatever you
decide to attend, you are sure to enjoy it.
So get a sitter, splurge for a badge or a wristband, and enjoy the benefits of the city’s
For more information about SXSW and
details about upcoming events, visit