How to score access to SXSW without spending a dime
Want in on the South by Southwest action for free? SXSW has put out its annual call for volunteers, promising Austinites a unique behind-the-scenes look at the festival and big perks.
Austinites are needed during SXSWedu (March 7 through 10) and the official SXSW week (March 11 through 20). Volunteers assist with various aspects of the festival, while earning desirable perks like free badges.
There are two different volunteer categories: all-conference volunteers and music festival volunteers. All-conference volunteers work registration, panels, trade shows, hospitality, technical support, and more. The folks on the music side cover stage production and equipment delivery.
This year's requirements are a little different than in the past. Volunteers must be able to attend crew meetings and commit to a minimum of 24 hours during the festival. However, there are no specific shifts lined up, so volunteers will have more flexibility in creating schedules.
Perks are determined by the volunteer role and amount of hours worked. All-conference volunteers can work toward a SXSWedu badge (24 to 47 hours), music or gold badge (48 to 63 hours), or an all-access platinum badge (64 hours or more). For music volunteers, the minimum requirements earn a music badge, while 32-plus hours equates to a platinum badge.
Volunteer applications are now available on the SXSW website. Potential workers will be asked to attend a volunteer call on January 24 or February 6 where they can sign up for crews and receive more information about specific duties. Out-of-towners can coordinate via email.