SXSW Interactive: What to Expect

Read pt. 1 of the SXSW Survival Guide

Whether it’s your first year or your tenth, it is really exciting walking up to the Austin Convention Center to pick up your badge. Seeing the telltale SXSW banners hanging from the building is enough to set anyone’s heart aflutter.

Austin Convention Center SXSW Banners

The Convention Center

Inside the convention center, expect organized chaos. About 25,000 people will pass through the building. (Don’t get greedy with your elbow room, is what we’re saying.)

Austin Convention Center SXSW Bulletins

The pillars inside act as bulletin boards, and if they aren’t full when you get there, they will be soon. Unlike a coffee shop bulletin board, a lot of the stuff posted on the pillars is actually pretty interesting or inspirational, whether it’s related to SXSW or not. Check out the pillar-ads every day or so, as there will be new items posted.

Badge Pick Up

Head to the escalators and go up to the second floor of the convention center to get your badge. The badge pick up area is right by the trade show entrance which causes for a lot of traffic… just be patient, and enjoy the sights and sounds of #SXSWi.

Once you’ve got the golden ticket in your hands, guard it with your life. The only way to replace a lost badge is to buy a new one! Head back downstairs to pick up your bag. Swag at SXSW is second to none. Besides, the bag denotes you as one of the cool kids in the streets of Austin.

SXSW Swag Bag

The Trade Show

The trade show runs almost the entire stretch. Almost 300 organizations and businesses are set up with entertaining, interactive and otherwise interesting displays. It’s a big show so you don’t have to do it all in one trip. It’s actually an ideal stop in between panel discussions and other events.

SXSW Trade Show

Besides, you never know who is walking the tradeshow. Keep your eyes open because you may see some of these dudes:

Neil Patrick Harris at SXSW

We’ve seen Paul Rudd, Josh Brolin, Anna Ferris, Seth Rogen and bunches of others. In the event you bump into someone familiar, please remember not to freak out.

Next Steps (for First Timers)

Once you’ve got your badge, you’ve got your freedom. If you haven’t already, make an outline of the sessions you want to attend and schedule out your day. You won’t make it everything you want to, and you’ll probably end up stumbling into a session or two you never expected to go to. That’s part of the fun. Meet as many people as you can along the way – that’s the other part of the fun.

If it’s your first time or your first time in a while, you’ll benefit from the SXSW First Timer’s Guide.

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