The SXSW party scene is an ever-shifting landscape. Years ago, the place to be was the Austin Music Awards Ceremony. SXSW was small enough to draw fewer attendees, and the ceremony became a who’s who of musicians journeying to the Live Music Capital of the World to pay their respects to the city’s musical legends. It was always a raucous evening, filled with free-flowing libations, random pairings of musical acts and more music than most attendees can recall. Undercover, wild and reserved for those in the know, it was the kind of party scene that was worthy of the sleepy town that Austin was at the time.
And, then, Austin happened. Development happened. Popularity happened. An overcrowded Downtown happened.
Sure, the rampant growth in Austin has been unchecked and significant, and a great deal of that is owed to the popularity of SXSW, but the change in the party landscape of SXSW is attributable to one thing: corporations. Now, please don’t think that we, at Texas Lifestyle, are casting a negative light on what the corporations have brought to the SXSW party. They have made local industries incredibly lucrative during SXSW, and their branding has brought a greater profile to the caliber of artist that plays on SXSW stages. World-touring bands that sell out stadiums, like Foo Fighters, Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Jay-Z all have graced the Austin stages and legendary acts like Stevie Nicks, Justin Timberlake and Prince have played smaller venues, thanks to the attention that is given to SXSW attendees. Famed blogger, Perez Hilton, has thrown a party for eight years, featuring the best of what’s to come, showcasing acts well before they’ve reached headliner status – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Ed Sheeran (to a very small audience), Florence & The Machine and Katy Perry. Additionally, Samsung, Converse, Nike, Dell and, yes, Doritos, have all played VERY significant roles in bringing big acts and bigger crowds to Austin in March.
So, with all of the possible options, how is one to decide what parties to attend and how to get in?
Four quick rules of thumb are as follows:
1) Follow the major brands of SXSW.
2) Check the Official SXSW Schedule
The major parties are sponsored by brands, but a lot are in conjunction with SXSW, itself. Take a look at their Interactive Parties, Film Parties and Music Parties pages, to get an idea of what’s coming, and if you’re daring, peek through the Full Official Schedule for all parties and details.
Twitter was around for a little while before its “coming out party” at SXSW 2007, but it didn’t find footing until that year. Once it did, it was an endless barrage of information, images and SXSW GOLD. Brands announced parties, bloggers spread rumors and attendees let other attendees know what was going on and when (Example: Ludacris’ appearance at a tent across from the Austin Convention Center, mid-afternoon at SXSW 2008 was disseminated via Twitter. Don’t believe us? Click on the image below to see proof [some adult language possible]).
4) Follow Texas Lifestyle Magazine
You may be able to tell on SX60: Day 10 (of 60), we’ve done quite a bit of SXSW. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with all the SXSW parties, events and tips for survival. And be sure to stay tuned to SX60 at our website, which you’re at right now, for more and more and more.