The South by Southwest conference (SXSW) is a fantastic place to meet people from all over the country and even the world, as there are lots of international guests from every industry you can imagine. No matter your business you can still network; talk to everyone, learn what they do and collect those business cards!
Being a local Austinite, I’d heard that getting an official badge or wristband wasn’t a must and going the more financially savvy route worked as I was able to still get into tons of great parties and events! The key to this strategy is starting early, I began my online research about a month prior to the festival and signed up for every event RSVP I could find. Even if it’s something you aren’t really into (hard core heavy metal rock concert) it’s still better to take a few minutes and sign up for the list just in case, after all you never know who you might meet at the party!
Then, even if something looks exclusive and you aren’t on the list (or don’t have the official badge) it never hurts to try and get into a party. I found this worked out pretty well and I had my first celeb sighting in Austin at a party I talked my way into (Jared Leto). But, more important than events is just going out and being around the festivities and meeting everyone you can in the crowd. One of my first new SXSW friends told me that those who get the most out of the conference talk to everyone. You can walk through the conference center lobby without a badge and it’s just a nice place to see all of the activity going on (great energy for those who have never participated in a conference of this magnitude before).
In addition to collecting business cards and networking with new friends there’s lots of other bonuses to SXSW events- the majority of the unofficial parties have free alcoholic beverages and often food. I think I have a total of eight ‘swag’ shirts so far, three tote bags, a pair of flip flops and probably 10 coozies!
One of the best free events is still to come, the Auditorium Shores Stage Concert Series. There is a great line up of concerts including The Shins, The Bright Light Social Hour and the Counting Crows. For more information and the full schedule, visit the website. So, even for those not in the music, tech, film or media business SXSW can still be an amazing time and a chance to meet tons of people (who can end up being new clients or great business contacts) so you shouldn’t miss out on this awesome, annual Austin event.
Friday, March 16th 6:00-9:30pm
Saturday, March 17th 1:00-9:30pm
Auditorium Shores Stage at Riverside Drive and South 1st Street
TICKETS: No fee or need to RSVP in advance