The South by Southwest Music Festival offers more than just great music. Every March, it provides attendees with a one-of-a-kind music experience. Located in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas, this festival showcases both brand new and legendary music artists. They travel from all over the world to perform in this mega music festival that's known for hosting seasoned artists as well as launching new musicians and jumpstarting their careers. Did you know that Imagine Dragons, The White Stripes, Skrillex and John Mayer were all first discovered at SXSW?
Last year, there were music performances in more than 100 downtown Austin venues, including parks, churches, bars and clubs. Bleachers and Marina and the Diamonds were just two of the top headliners, and this year's lineup is already generating excitement. The 2016 music festival takes place mid-March from the 15th to the 20th and promises to be bigger in scope and size than last year's.
Here's a complete guide on everything you need to know about the South by Southwest Music Festival—from where to get your festival badges to an online tool that helps you connect with other friends going to SXSW to updates on the latest music artist lineup and tips for getting around downtown Austin.
Where do I get my SXSW festival badge?
After buying your ticket you can either get your SXSW Festival badge mailed to your home address, or you can pick it up yourself at the Austin Convention Center free of charge. If you're getting dropped off there, the best and easiest way to enter the Convention Center is at the 4th Street entrance, located on the north side of the building.
How do I connect with other SXSW concert-goers?
SXsocial is an online tool that allows SXSW festival-goers to connect and communicate with one another. By simply linking your badge to SXsocial, you'll have instant access to all the features and services the tool has to offer.
Once you've synced your badge, you can create a social profile by uploading a photo of yourself as well as a personal bio. After that, you can start introducing yourself to other concert-goers. It's an easy way to make friends before travelling to Austin, and you'll be able to get live updates on all the festival announcements and events taking place. Plus, with over 28,000 registrants, it doesn't hurt to get to know a few people before attending!
Who are some must-see music artists?
Singer and guitarist Alex Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman make up the entirety of Diet Cig, but don't let this small band from New York fool you. What this garage punk duo lacks in size, they make up for in energy. Known for jumping and kicking her way across the stage, Alex portrays limitless vigour as Noah's drumming spurs her on. Their infectious pop songs explore young infatuation. You can bet that Diet Cig will leave you mesmerized with an intense live performance.
Although Los Angeles-based artist Elohim has done a great job of remaining anonymous with her masks and blurred pictures, she can't keep her talent a secret. This electro-pop artist prefers to have her music fans focus on her music rather than her identity, which isn't that hard to do when her music speaks volumes for itself. Named one of the "Best Female Vocalists of 2015" by Indie Shuffle, Elohim is definitely a must-see performer this year.
Since they first teamed up last year, songwriter and producer Ethan Kath and vocalist Edith Frances have been writing and recording their first debut album together. They've already released two hit singles, "Frail" and "Decide" to garner the attention of electropunk fans. Their music style can best be described as fierce and fast-paced beats with transcendental singing.
This sultry singer was named "Artist You Need to Know" by Rolling Stone. Lena's sound has been labelled as dark pop, and her tragic lyrics and slow indie beats support that description. Get ready to hear her ethereal voice ring out over the piano keyboard and be entranced by her signature hypnotic beats.
Holly Låpsley Fletcher is a singer-songwriter from the UK who is known for her ambient voice and electronic sound. In 2014, she signed with XL Recordings, and her debut album, "Long Way Home," will be released on March 4, 2016. Be sure to preview "Hurt Me" before attending the festival so you can sing along to her soon-to-be hit single.
How do I get around Austin during the SXSW festival?
One of the easiest ways to get around downtown is by foot, so comfortable shoes are highly recommended. If you're too tired to walk, you'll be happy to know that Austin is a bike-friendly city. It has a bike share service called B-Cycle that allows for quick and easy bike rentals at the swipe of a credit card. You can get a day access pass and use it at any B-Cycle station to get your hands on an adjustable bike that includes lights, gears and a basket to hold all of your festival gear.
Of course, there's always the option of taking a car or shuttle as well. And this year, SXSW Festival will have circulating shuttles that will transport people to different venues.
Anything else I should know?
Music festivals are a blast, but there are a few tips to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of your experience. For example, don't forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. There will also be many places around downtown Austin to sit down and eat or you can grab something on-the-go from a vendor.
Since some of the venues are outdoors, make sure to bring a light, water-repellent jacket or a poncho to prevent yourself from getting soaked. Austin is known for having rain showers in March. On the flip side, don't forget to bring sunglasses, so you don't miss a moment of a sunny show. With these tips in mind, you're bound to have the experience of a lifetime!
Will there be encore performances?
Just because the South by Southwest Music Festival is over, doesn't mean that the music has to stop. Listen to your favourite bands and experience the festival all over again with Digital Sound Enhancement Technology (DSEE HX)—which can upscale the sound quality of your existing music library. It's guaranteed to make you feel like you're standing in the front row. Sony DSEE HX software restores your compressed audio files (MP3s and AACs) to near high-resolution sound quality, so you can bring the concert with you wherever your next adventure takes you.