Things To Do At SXSW Without a Badge

Mar 1, 2016 1:30:00 PM

Burke Gibney



SXSW 2016 in Austin, TX is fast-approaching and the buzz surrounding this year’s event has begun! Convention Nation has the highlights on what to expect and tips for making the most of this monstrous event!


Things You Can Do at SXSW WITHOUT A PASS:

There are many fun things to do around the SXSW event, even if you don't have a pass for everything you'd like to see. Below are a few ideas for you that do not require a pass to access to the event itself, but will still put you in the mix:

  1. Go to the Free Day Shows: Many bands and musicians play free gigs during the day before their evening shows for the attendees. You can check the social media pages of the bands and musicians you’d like to see to get the inside tip on where they’ll be.
  2. Attend the Unofficial and Community Events: They may not be on the official SXSW calendar, but there are endless unofficial festival events going on that most badge-holders don’t even know about. Check The Austin Chronicle‘s ultimate guide to unofficial SXSW parties. Another up to the moment resource is the Unofficial SXSW Twitter account, which continuously updates with what's going on outside the event. Also, don't forget to check’s events calendar to see what else is going on in Austin that you might enjoy.
  3. Buy Film Tickets 15 Minutes Before Showtime: As noted on the SXSW website, “If there are still seats available, single admissions tickets are sold for $12, fifteen minutes before showtime.” You may not get seats to every show or big name you’d like to see, by hey, it’s only $12 and you may see some great films.
  4. If all else fails, the people watching alone is almost worthy of event status. Just hang out on the street near the SXSW festival and you’re certain to be entertained by the shenanigans around you...for free.

The people watching alone at #SXSW is almost worthy of event status.



Attendee Inside Tip:

If you find your battery dying at SXSW, tweet @Mophie with a screenshot of your battery level and current location, and the company will send a real live St. Bernard dog to your rescue (with a human handler) to provide you with a Mophie charger to keep. These dogs are also available for adoption if you happen to fall in love with the one that comes to your rescue.


SXSW 2016 Interactive Trends:

If you're lucky enough to get your hands on a badge, here are the trends you can expect to see at 2016 SXSW Interactive.

SXSW is a launchpad for topics and trends in the startup and digital space. Once they begin to percolate at SXSW, they are quickly adopted and buzzed about for the rest of the year. We’ve listed the major talking points on the SXSW Agenda for 2016 that are sure to boil over:

  1. Startups are still hot. Check out the 2016 edition of Startup Village, which is predicted to bring more entrepreneurs, founders, and funders than ever before.
  2. The future of transportation is now. As evidenced by the presence of featured speaker, US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, numerous panels and presentations at SXSW Interactive will address self-driving cars and futuristic transportation systems.
  3. Health and MedTech present opportunities for change. Expect to see a lot of discussion around using technology to improve health and medtech this year. It is the topic of Monday's, March 14th Keynote led by Under Armour's founder Kevin Plank. Also, note that the 2016 SX Health and MedTech Expo moves to Saturday, March 12th and Sunday, March 13th at this year’s event. The event planners are taking note of this subject's increasing popularity.
  4. There is a desperate need for more diversity in the tech industry. This issue has been a focal point of many digital marketing conferences this year, and SXSW is no exception. This topic will be discussed in Tracy Chou’s presentation on Saturday, March 12th as well as the Sunday, March 13th Keynote conversation with Michele Madansky and Trae Valllasso. This need for more tech industry diversity will also be one of the underlying themes at the first-ever Online Harassment Summit.
  5. Virtual and augmented reality is very real. Virtual reality and augmented reality gained traction earlier this year at CES and are continuing to be the super star technology of 2016. Learn more about what is hype and what is substance at the new VR/AR Track as well as the new VR/AR Experience, both of which run March 16-18th.
  6. Millennials want a world that is more socially conscious. They are comfortable with brands, but want them with greater meaning. This desire for greater meaning is more fully explored within the SXgood Hub.
  7. SXSW will continue to blur the lines. This trend will continue in March 2016 in Austin where the Music, Film and Interactive festivals align. The Convergence programming that SXSW offers provides this opportunity to network, be entertained, and make meaningful business connections all at the same time.


We hope this post provided you with some useful insights for planning your trip to SXSW Interactive 2016. It's sure to be a great time in Austin, TX, ya'll. For more detailed information about SXSW 2016, check out the SXSW page on our website! Come back after the event to write a review and tell us what you thought of the event.


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