Friday, March 12, 2010

Caren Explains 3 Ways to Improve Your SXSW Music Experience

On Sunday I head to Austin, Texas, for my fourth pilgrimage to SXSW. It will be the first time I'm not producing SXSW-related events (like the one pictured above); instead I'll be checking out the interactive panels and film screenings, before I help introduce The Lighthouse and the Whaler to the rest of the music industry [catch the band's showcase on Wednesday March 17th at 7:30pm at The Tap Room at Six].

Ian Schafer penned a great post for AdAge reminding all of us who are Austin-bound “10 Ways to Not Be a Jerk at SXSW.” Ian’s offers some advice specific to SXSWi, so I thought I’d add three pieces of advice for those people going to the SXSW Music festivities.

1) Don't plan every minute of your day. SXSW used to be about the discovery, but now it is a miracle if you can survive the whole thing. Go ahead and make a schedule using my.sxsw, but do leave some room for exploration. There are probably 50-some-odd bands that the industry is buzzing about, and you may be tempted to go see them all; but do you really want to be the umpteenth blogger to proclaim [over-hyped band] the darling of SXSW? Wouldn’t it be cooler to stumble into something unusually interesting? There is certainly talent among the other 1,000+ artists showcasing at SXSW, so ditch the schedule from time to time and let your ear lead you to something surprising.

2) Don't show off all of your day party laminates. It's nice to feel wanted and well-liked, but you don't have to brag about it, especially if you didn't share your party invitations with your friends and instead horded passes for yourself. Imagine checking-in to Four Square and seeing that a few of your friends are at a pretty happening place; but, wait, why didn’t they invite you to go with them?! Don’t wear your party laminates like merit badges unless you’re willing to answer, “How come I wasn’t invited to that?"

3) Make a point to go to Flatstock. For the past 24 years the best poster artists and designers have shown up at SXSW to display their work. I've outfitted my entire apartment with posters I bought at SXSW 2008 and my house guests love them almost as much as I do. If you are on a budget, I recommend doing some research ahead of time, since some of these posters are pricey. Check out two of my favorites: The Small Stakes (responsible for The National poster below) and Methane Studios (which made the Band of Horses print).

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