Most Austinites are used to the massive influx of SXSW festival-goers that flood this city every spring for the chance to post murky Instagrams of celebrities and fill goodie bags with the legal kind of schwag. They might also come to catch the latest advancements in music, movies, and technology.
While there are locals who take part in a mini exodus during SXSW, plenty of locals join in the fun. Why would you want to miss the biggest citywide party that many people across the world could only dream of attending? That’s why anyone who is remotely considering attending the festival should think about taking it for a spin as a SXSW volunteer.
Each of the festival’s 3,000 volunteers get a unique, behind-the-scenes look to see just how this behemoth of an event is put into action. Volunteers get the chance to attend various panels, view numerous performances, and maybe even come face-to-face with a number of their favorite figures of entertainment.
Event organizers offer a plethora of opportunities that can cater to whatever you may be looking to gain from this. All potential jobs and activities are broken down into two main categories: conference and production.
Conference volunteers will be the boots on the ground at all conference sites for panels and lounges, whether it’s getting attendees and registrants where they need to be or setting up the charity golf tournament.
Production volunteers take care of all of the nuts and bolts to make sure that SXSW runs like a finely tuned machine. These volunteers may act as roadies, photographers or even film projectionists.
To qualify for these honorable duties, SXSW only asks you to give up one thing: time. That and a little bit of patience and a good attitude. Things are going to get plenty hectic, and organizers will need all hands on deck to make sure that everyone involved has a good time. Start filling out those registration forms and clear your calendars to attend the Volunteer Calls on January 19 and January 29 at the Austin Convention Center.
And while you may be classified as a “volunteer,” don’t expect SXSW to let you go home empty handed. Every volunteer will be working to add up hours and shifts to qualify for perks. By reaching certain minimums, volunteers can earn badges that allow access to music events, parties, panels and screenings. The more hours you work, the more events you can attend to make your friends jealous.
If you do choose to dive in head first, be prepared for a crazy storm of work over the course of the conference. If you decide to just skip town again, you might just miss out on a huge chance for new experiences, memories and maybe even new friends.
Bill Gates could use someone to show him around town.