Hello SXSW attendee and here is your special Australian/NZ Tips from a ten year veteran, Techniques to save you time and money as well as Secrets from great and cheap restaurants to special places. First however, let me lay out 10 vital rules.
1. Get travel insurance before you go. I’ve had a couple of medical issues–a torn muscle from coughing too much from bronchitis ($600), pneumonia ($800)–and a theft from an auto ($15,000) all of which were paid by insurance. Nuff said. Brad Thomas of Entertainment Travel Managers (email@example.com) can sort you out quickly. If you go overseas more than twice, get an annual policy.
2. Get a flu shot. NOW. The new fluvax is in and it will fight the current and recent viruses in the Northern Hemisphere. You will be in many flying tubes and stationary queues. You don’t want to get it and it is best administered two weeks prior to exposure. No shit, get a shot. It’s only a little prick.
3. Make sure you have filed your ESTA online with the US government, it’s the authority you need to land in the US and it must be done in advance. If you haven’t filed in the past and are current, you won’t be able to board the plane to the US. Go to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta. IT’s easy and free.
4. Make sure you have a photo up in the private (to registrants) social networking directory SXSocial at http://sxsocial.sxsw.com and also have a ‘bio’ in there that explains WHO you are with title or skillset, products and services; WHAT you are hoping to do at SXSW and who you are looking to liaise with; WHEN you will be in Austin (and elsewhere on this trip) WHERE you are staying if you wish and how best to contact you; HOW to get in touch with you through Facebooks, Twitter, Linked In or other means as well as a US mobile (no one is going to make an international call to get in touch with you and you don’t want the roaming charges) and perhaps WHY you are attending SXSW and your goals during and after it.
5. Get a US phone SIM card or US pay as you go phone to avoid roaming charges. Even better if it’s a 512 area code so any calls to you are local charge and convenient. I use T-Mobile to go which gets you an annual renewable number for long terms use and $100 gets you 1000 minutes for that year. This can be your defacto US business number which you can access voicemail from back in Australia. Verizon and AT&T have similar plans. I’ve had my number for 9 years.
6. Become a part of the Facebook page SXSW 2012 The Aussie Crew which is a handy resource of about 200 members heading over to SXSW at http://www.facebook.com/groups/220769491272950/ Or at least go there and have a look at their tips on mobile broadband, apps, things to do, etc.
7. Scan your passport pages with visas, drivers license and credit cards and make them into PDFs or jpegs that you email to a readily accessible email address in case of loss. Make labels to put onto your mobile, PDA, computer and iPod (or other things) with your hotel number, email or other contact in case of loss, no one will see them until you lose them. I lost my phone last year overnight and got it returned the next morning because of the email address.
8. THE SXSW SCHEDULE OF BANDS, PANELS, SPEAKERS & EVENTS is up now at http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/ so you can start planning who to see or listen to, where, when and start your own internal itinerary. It’s being expanded constantly. We just announced John Mayer and Counting Crows this week and Bruce Springsteen a few weeks back. You’ll be amazed at who we’ll be adding shortly…
9. AUSTRALIAN STANDS @ SXSW TRADE SHOW are an interesting mix of music and interactive. Every year for the past 10 there has been a major music stand and this year is no exception with Sounds Australia having a 3 unit presence as well as a day of multi-venue music Saturday March 17 at Maggie Mays. Geospike (www.geospike.com) and Freelancer.com (www.freelancer.com). From across the ditch, our NZ Music Commission mates have their tenth year of stand (www.nzmusic.org.nz) and a party as well. Thursday March 15 at Brush Square Park starting at 5pm RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org,nz
10. Get on to Sounds Australia stand folk who have a three unit large Aussie Backyard presence on the Trade Fair floor over four days. Millie Millgate (email@example.com) and Estie Zilber (firstname.lastname@example.org) are in charge of the stand and also the Aussie BBQ concert series at Maggie May’s March 17 all day. They will also be doing other events and networking opportunities and they welcome IA and Film registrants to participate. Also participating primarily for the IA crowd is AUSTRADE representative Tony George (email@example.com 310 282 7258) who has a wealth of contacts and advice. He’s based out of LA and well worth catching up with there or at SXSW.
The AUSTIN CHRONICLE is the weekly street press which is also a partner of SXSW. Their online presence at http://www.austinchronicle.com has already started with three weekly special issues on Film, Interactive and Music Festivals and Conferences and the paper editions will be in your showbags with each Attendees Guide and other schedules, planners and propaganda.
- First week is Interactive online this Friday at http://www.austinchronicle.com/sxsw/interactive/
- Next week is Film at http://www.austinchronicle.com/sxsw/film/ next Friday
- Music is at http://www.austinchronicle.com/sxsw/music on the final week.
- Have a look at the previous years still online from 2011 to get a taste.
- The official SXSW First Timers Guide is at http://sxsw.com/first_time
- I just caught this http://ontechies.com/2012/02/17/top-10-sxsw-guides-for-2012/ containing links to the following.
1. First-Timer’s Guide to SXSW by SXSW.com
2. The Austin Chronicle Guide to SXSW by Austin Chronicle
3. The Unofficial SXSW Insider’s Guide by SXSWInsider
4. Unofficial SXSWi Session Guide by Lanyrd
5. Austin Neurotic’s Guide to SXSW by Austin Eavesdropper
6. SXSWi Guide by Austin360.com
7. Citizen Taco’s Essential SXSW Guide
8. The A-Z of SXSW 2012 by Long Straws
9. Unofficial SXSW Guide by Sched.org
10. SXSW Survival Guide by GSD&M (featuring a cool Pinterest board!)
- Guide to day parties http://showlistaustin.com/ and an unofficial schedule http://showlistaustin.com/
- Essential Apps for SXSW was assembled by Barry Teoh http://www.facebook.com/groups/220769491272950/doc/392513687431862/
- 37 Australian bands are playing at various parties, their one official night gig and at the Sounds Australia day party.
- Oh Mercy
- Big Scary
- The Black Ryder
- Teeth & Tongue
- The Art
- Lanie Lane
- Emma Louise
- Tonight Alive
- Electric Jellyfish
- Voltaire Twins
- Bliss N Eso
- Busby Marou
- Dead Letter Circus
- Pets With Pets
- Henry Wagons
- The John Steel Singers
- Gold Fields
- Chet Faker
- Grace Woodroofe
- DZ Deathrays
- Bonfire Nights
- Bleeding Knees Club
- Jordie Lane
- Husky (AU)
- Flight Facilities
- Matt Corby
- Knife Party
- Iggy Azalea
There are four other bands going to Austin to play as unofficial bands outside of the 37 invited artists which was whittled down from over 70 invitations due to scheduling, visa, funding or other reasons.
Karl Morgan?, Satellite Sky, ?Anna Lunoe & ?Plastic Plates
Phil Tripp — Travel Writer & Consultant