South by Southwest, the long-running music, film and interactive conference in Austin, TX, is a clear industry leader with its yearly offering of music, film and general debauchery. The festival kicks off its film and interactive portion today (March 11) with the music marathon getting started on March 15. If you're not going, it's often hard to sit at home and wonder what it's like in the centre of the hipster elite. If you've got a strong enough imagination and a go-getter attitude, however, much of the festival experience can be recreated at home. No matter where you live, we've developed a handy guide to make it feel like SXSW wherever you are.
How to Recreate the SXSW Experience From Home:
10. Pay three times the normal price for a hotel room that's miles away from where you need to be
Unless they're seasoned travellers and business people (in which case they would probably work in a more profitable industry), most SXSW attendees are lackadaisical when it comes to booking a place to stay during the fest. As a result, their last-minute hotel bookings mean they're paying through the nose for a shitty room on the wrong side of town. It's not all bad, as the SXSW organizers have graciously started a shuttle service to venues. Still, if you're trying to recreate the experience at home, you should stay as far away as possible from wherever you need to be, then take a cab or rent a 16 passenger van to shuttle yourself around.
9. Wear paper wristbands and lanyards
From the official SXSW wristband to the various wristbands for drinking at certain venues and lanyards to get into a specific showcase, there is no shortage of useless paper crap hanging off your body at all times in Austin. To recreate the experience at home, go to the dollar store and find some wristbands to fill your forearm. If you do it properly, at least one of the wristbands will be too tight while the lanyards will hang awkwardly into meals or sinks.
8. Carry a tote bag full of useless promotional items
Aside from the beer cans, energy drinks and bulky identification memorabilia, the other crap cluttering your person at SXSW are the piles and piles of useless giveaways. From experimental granola bars to lighters and flashlights that don't actually work, it's not uncommon to find yourself with a promotional tote bag full of garbage. To live this aspect out, you just need to head to a dollar or thrift store with a tote bag. For less than $5, you can likely fill the bag with the same calibre of material that would have been tossed your way in Austin. Carry it with you as if there's something in there you actually like, but make sure you lose the bag before the end of the week.