Surviving #SXSW. I hope.

As soon as I press 'publish' on this thing, I'm headed to the madness known as South by Southwest, SXSW, or as the locals abbreviate it, South-by. Sometimes derisively.


So just a quick few bytes about what it is, where it is, what you might want to do, and what I hope to do--

Dear Austin, I love you, really I do. Please overlook my rantings. I'm not at my best in crowds. I'm in line for the action, and  I think you're (D)OPE. Please don't say (N)OPE. I'm holding out (H)OPE.
South by Southwest Interactive Festival is now more commonly known as SXSW Music Film Interactive, held this year from March 13-22, 2015, in various bars, shops, meeting halls, and big venues all around town, but mostly concentrated in the downtown area. You may purchase a badge for the collective festival, or wing it to many events running concurrently that don't require a badge. Those free shows, brunches, parties, and networking events will be CROWDED, so be sure to get there early, and don't be heartbroken if you don't get in. Yes, even if you RSVP'd. It's like a summer romance. Don't get too attached. Move on to the next one.

There are crowds almost EVERYwhere.
Whether you're a visitor or resident, with a wristband or without, you have a few choices:

  1. Hack it. There are SCADS of free events. Let Madbetty show you the way.
  2. Avoid it: Go out to eat AWAY from the crowds with Where to Eat to Avoid SXSW, Matthew Odam, Austin American Statesman, Get out of town with Full and Content's guide to local Day Trips for Food Lovers, or use this brilliant app to Avoid Humans
  3. Embrace it (but still, the traffic!): Consult the KXAN Traffic Map, utilize Public Transit, or park and pedal with Rocket Electrics.
  4. Deny it. Great week for diving into War and Peace. Order pizza. Stay off Twitter. 
Me?  I've managed to avoid the mayhem for years by escaping to a convent in Mississippi (no. really!) for an annual retreat of women friends that is exactly the opposite of what I'm facing, head on, this year. Heretofore, I've dabbled. Hitting the high spots and avoiding most. This year, I'm going beyond dipping my toes in the proverbial river of raucous and heading straight into the crowd. I'm taking notes. I'll fill you in. I'm still not convinced I have the energy, the patience, the youth for this. But I'm taking one for the team, y'all. I'm going to begin gently, with a margarita, and a (almost) sunny patio north of the melee. Then I'll circle back, take a deep breath, and dive head-in to the collective mosh pit. 

Remember, when you get hungry or need a little break, I have a few ideas for you, within, and beyond the city limits.  My colleagues have a few hundred more. Whatever fits your fancy, there's a guide for that at #ATXBestEats.

So.....I'm dressing up, preparing thoughtfully, and making tracks. Count on updates, should I find some late-breaking event you can't miss, or happen upon some savvy SXSW'ers that have the downlow on this crazy-making scene. If you don't hear from me by late next week, send the calvary, please.

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