SXSW ever year presents a lot of excitement, a lot of hype and a lot of craziness. And it's also a big mess of confusion, if you're not careful. As the festival becomes more and more overcrowded, the party-hopping on 6th Street can be kind of stressful. Luckily, there are individuals and brands that have learned from experience and stepped up to help festival-goers.
We understand the overwhelmingness of the world's biggest music festival, and we've done our best to provide some suggestions that may make your trek across downtown Austin as fun and stress-free as possible.
Take a look below at some of the must-have apps and must-follow Twitter accounts for SXSW 2013, in no particular order.
Having become one of the premier event listings, Eventbrite is now the choice outlet for ticketing, RSVPing and other info of many SXSW events, official and non-official. Their iOS and Android apps make it an obvious choice for any attendee, especially because many Eventbrite-listed events provide print-off tickets that can instead be shown on your mobile device, therefore saving paper and hassle.
Yes, yes, it's Foursquare. But even if you never, ever use Foursquare at any other time in your life (I don't!), you may want to consider downloading this app to your phone during SXSW. Why? To follow the party. Use Foursquare to track check-ins on 6th Street. If you're on Brazos but you notice a high level of activity at Stubb's, you can find out what's going on and decide if it's time to move along.
This Twitter account has annually been full of great tips—both practical and for entertainment. They'll let you know what you should pack, which streets you should avoid and any rumors you might be interested in. Being local, they know their way around. If you want to get around like a local, you might want to follow these guys.
4. SXSW Go
This is the official SXSW app. Of course, you'll want to follow them for news and updates. Hear all the latest info straight from the horse's mouth. You can also create a custom schedule (you'll need this if you don't want to miss out on your favorite shows!), and connect with your social media accounts. Beware: If you're an Instagramaholic, the official photo platform of SXSW this year is Flickr.
This one has been growing quickly at SXSW. Transportation, as past attendees know, is rather hectic. Cheap parking is far away, nearby (and all day) parking is not as plentiful. Many people walk and bike their way around instead, because cars can be burdensome and cabs can be elusive. Uber offers a luxury alternative to taxi cabs, and all transactions and bookings are done completely within its app on your phone. During SXSW 2013, rides are free.
Originally available for iPhone, but recently debuting for Android, this app allows you to find good shows near your specific location. If you are not on the hunt for a specific band, and you don't feel like commuting much, you might find this app very handy. You can also listen to previews of music if you're unfamiliar with the artist. SXSW is a great place to test out a music-finding app like Timbre.
Leading up SXSW, RSVPster allows you RSVP for most unofficial shows, saving you a lot of time. During the week, you'll want to follow them for news and show updates. They're also tracking rumors. Once you're on the ground in Austin, the best place to follow them is on Twitter.
Austin360, a year-round city guide, provides a local and in-depth rundown on all the latest happenings at SXSW. They've got tips and updates, resources and suggestions—for everything from entertainment to food. They will be updating on Twitter all week long, and they're a must-follow, especially if this is your first trip to Austin's downtown area.
Free food, anyone? This is one of our favorites. L.A.'s Luis Mendoza provides a very trusty update of all the free food and drinks at SXSW, in real time. He's tracking everything downtown has to offer, from last-minute freebies to annual treat giveaways. If you're into saving cash—or perhaps aren't on a tight schedule, you might have a lot of fun trying to hunt them down.
While there are a multitude of websites and Twitter accounts posting anything and everything SXSW-related, with occasional tips for rumored performances, @CameronatSXSW specifically tracks the unofficial showcases and parties, as well as rumors. He's on top of this stuff, and each year, he gets better and better. If you're after those underground or A-List surprise events, give this guy a follow.
If you've been to SXSW—or you've been ogling over the lineup, you know it's a mess. Imagine trying to RSVP to everything, even though you won't actually attend most of it. How to determine what's worth your time, or worth trying to get in? WILLCALL will RSVP on your behalf for every event in their database and they'll do their best to track all the new events to RSVP for those as well. It's a mega-timesaver.
If you've followed us for very long, you know we're fans of Songza. Both the web version and app curate playlists based on time of day and activity (i.e. Monday Late Morning>Saving the World). They've also collected tunes from some of the best up-and-coming acts at SXSW. You can check it out and decide who's worth catching live. If you're waiting in line before a showcase, Songza might also keep you company—although we'd also recommend making new friends. Songza is available for iPhone, Android & Kindle Fire.
13. Sperry Media
This one comes in the form of a simple PDF, but it may very well be a lifesaver for your trip to SXSW this year. Scott Perry previously began creating a list of all the parties and schedules for personal use, but he soon realized many others might appreciate a daily listing of what's happening. It's nothing fancy, but it's very useful. While not all events are listed, many of the major showcases and parties are bulleted with any available performers. You'll likely have to do your own research to fill in holes in your schedule, but this is worth a read.
About the Author: @jonathanrobles will be at SXSW as well. Got a tip? Go ahead and tweet!