Anyone who’s ever jump started a car knows that the positive and negative go hand in hand, so it should come as no surprise that SXSW isn’t all crowd surfing and social drinking. Beneath the celebrity sightings and endless supply of SWAG, there are dark forces at work. The question is, which of these counterbalances is the biggest detriment to your Interactive, Film and/or Music experience?
Whether you’re an Austin resident or renting from Avis, there’s no escaping this unavoidable annoyance. On a good day, I-35 is backed up like the Congress Bridge during bat season. Add thousands of early adopters, film majors and music lovers to the mix, and the highway traffic stretches further than the line for Franklin Barbecue. But getting into the city is only half the battle. The war isn’t over until you’ve found a parking spot, which brings me to the next problem...
T-shirts and facial hair aren’t the only sources of irony at SXSW. It’s the pop-up stages and elaborate promotions that belong in an Alanis Morissette song. Downtown parking is always an issue, so how does Austin prepare for the city’s most high-traffic event of the year? They sell all of our parking lots to corporations for the sake of a PR stunt; turning drivers into prey for the next buzz kill...
These pavement predators lurk around downtown like sharks encircling a colony of lion seals. Leave your front bumper one millimeter over a yellow curb and your ride will get snatched up faster than a drink voucher at The W. “It’s cool, I’ll just hide my car at a nearby apartment complex,” you say? Think again! Stay put for five minutes and you’ll see that menacing tow hook glide through the parking lot like a fin in open water. Your best chance of survival is to leave your vehicle at least ten miles outside of downtown.
With SXSW schedules packed tighter than a drummer’s junk in skinny jeans, it’s nearly impossible to keep your itinerary intact. One hungover lead singer can completely unravel weeks of careful planning. And that goes octuple for non-badge holders. It seems the only sure-fire way to protect your show list from neglectful musicians and negligent stage managers is to and lower your expectations.
From movie premiers to porta-potties, you better have an iPad close at hand. Unless your name is Jay-Z or Bruce Springsteen, you’re destined to spend a large portion of your SXSW experience leapfrogging from line to line. Unfortunately, all you can do is fill your knapsack or cargo jorts with sunscreen, a poncho, ibuprofen and a good read, and prepare for the long hauls. Either that, or bribe someone near the front of the line, but that’s going to put a dent in your Lone Star fund.
When an activity requires a large amount of time outside, weather always becomes an issue. This was obvious during last week’s monsoon, but the same is just as true for a cloudless sky. Anyone who’s visited a Dermatologist since the 1800s already knows that the sun is secretly trying to kill us, but skin cancer isn’t the only concern during Austin’s sweltering Spring. Heat strokes and BO are as common as QR codes during SXSW.
So, reader, which buzz kill gets your gears and grinds your goat the most?