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SXSW: Which Admission Option is Best for You?

Dec 25, 2007
Every March, thousands of music lovers and industry insiders flock to Austin to party, network, and discover the next great band at the annual South by Southwest Music Festival. The weeklong music blowout has been packing them in since it was founded in 1987. Austin was chosen as the site for the annual festival because of its abundance of unique clubs featuring country, folk, punk, reggae, jazz, and rock artists on a nightly basis. In the late 90s, the festival added two new additions.

The SXSW Film festival begins the week before the music caravan roles into town and features first runs and world premieres of new films in theatres throughout the city. The newest addition to the SXSW menu is the Interactive Media Festival. Running concurrently with the Film Festival, the Interactive Media Festival focuses its lens on emerging media technologies. In addition to a three day trade show, the Interactive Media Festival has recently added Screenburn which focuses on emerging video games.

Each year, an estimated 8,000 participants and attendees flock to Austin for the duration of the festival generating millions of dollars worth of revenue to local businesses. With such a large population clamoring to attend the most popular events, access to the festivals multitude of performance and networking opportunities becomes top priority to everyone in town. There are a plethora of admission options designed to accommodate the needs of such a diverse crowd of festival goers. The individual must then decide what admission option best meets their budget, as well as allows them access to the events that they wish to attend.

For industry insiders and those with money to spend, the Platinum Badge offers access to every event including special screenings and panels and runs between $775 - $1050 depending on the date that is purchased. By buying early, you can expect substantial savings on every admission option to the festival. Those wishing to skip out of the Music Festival can purchase the Gold Badge ($500-650) which includes admission to both the Film and Interactive portions of South by Southwest. Those who wish to attend only a single portion of the festival may purchases individual badges for Music ($500-650), Film ($275-400), and Interactive Media ($325-450). In addition, students with valid ID may purchase a student badge ($275-300) for the Film events only. All badges may be purchased online beginning in the September preceding the festival.

The second tier of admission options is the wristband which allows festival goers access to some of the Music Festival showcases. For each event, badge holders are allowed in first, if there is still room in the venue, wristband holders are allowed to enter. This year, SXSW has decided not to make an announcement about when the wristbands go on sale. The sale will be announced on the day the wristbands go on sale. There are only 2000 wristbands available ($120-160) and you must have proof that you are a resident of Austin to purchase one. For those who do not wish to purchase a wristband or a badge, there are a number of free events throughout the city. Also, it is possible to purchase walk up tickets to individual film screenings and music showcases if there is space available after all the badge and wristband holders have entered.
About the Author
Ki is a broker in the Austin Texas real estate market. To search for homes, you can try his Austin MLS search and read about the current market conditions on his Austin real estate blog.
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