SXSW begins this week and it’s time to start planning. But while you may have a list of all the screenings you want to attend, bands you must see and panels that are a can’t miss, you may not be prepared when the day actually arrives and you are charged with navigating the festival itself. For all attendees, both new and vets, you may need a little help staying organized and getting around, and there are a number of resources available to make the day the best it can be. Look below for some top tips for navigating the festival for free.
For the third year in a row, Chevrolet is helping SXers get where they need to go for free. As Miss A writer Melissa Curtin remarked in last year’s Miss A coverage, hailing a cab is nearly impossible for those two weeks. Try instead to Catch a Chevy and get a ride anywhere in
downtown Austin, free for those with a badge or wristband. Look for the specially marked Cruze sedans and Equinox crossovers and flag them down to take you anywhere in the vicinity. You can also head to the designated spot located right outside the Convention Center at 4th and Trinity to find those not currently taking passengers around.
Operating for the three major events, SXSW shuttles are free to badgeholders. The routes vary depending on which bus you catch and are clearly marked indicating if they are for film, music or interactive. They drive in a continuous loop and only stop at the major locations and venues that attendees will be most looking to go to. Find the shuttle stops and watch the buses in real time on the SXSW Festival Shuttle Tracker.
Chevy will also provide a charging station placed conveniently inside the Convention Center. Last year, this was a spot where everyone involved at SXSW came to charge their phone, computer or tablet in between screenings, shows and panels. It is also a great place to relax and get caught up while taking a breather from the festival events.
For music and film goers, these passes can make a day so much easier and less stressful. Platinum, Gold, Film and Music badge-holders can make their way to the fourth floor of the convention center and grab two passes to skip the line for screenings and music shows. Only a select number of passes are given out and top films and shows run out quickly so arrive early. Keep in mind, you must still arrive at the event at least 30 minutes prior to start to use your pass and get a great seat. While the SXXpress opens at 9 a.m., lines often start forming earlier.
Available free for Android or iPhone, the SXSW app will greatly help you stay organized for the duration of the festival. It has features that enable you to plan your schedule ahead of time and keep track of screenings, panels, shows and events. It also allows you to get up to date information in real time, interact with other users, and get directions to and from locations.