SXSW 2011 Adventure

posted on: March 18, 2011

I'd heard about SXSW (South by Southwest) for the last few years and it always sounded amazing- so I vowed that I would find a way to make it work as soon as I could! This year it just so happened to line up with my husband's spring break from teaching, his birthday, and St. Patrick's day. Could the timing be any more perfect?! So- I proposed the idea of a super awesome birthday week in Austin, TX- but since we're still on our "Smarter Spending" mission to pay off debt, we needed to do it in a way that wouldn't kill our financial goals.

Just got shot in @the_magbooth @Etsy #SXW

Over the holidays Alex's step-brother had offered to let us stay with him if we ever came to visit Austin - so we took him up on it and saved big time on the hotel costs. Next big cost is getting there. We've done our share of driving over the years and it's not our favorite way to travel, so we decided to finally cash in on some airline miles that we'd accumulated from lots of international travel- so our flight was FREE- wahoo! To save even more money, we decided not to get a badge for SXSW and just check out as much as we could without a badge- which turned out to be a great idea! We did end up renting a car and paying for some super tasty meals, but we totally lucked out on at least half of our meals, drinks, and entertainment because SXSW offered so many free opportunities to party! Yeeeeah baby! Photo from @FreshBooks Party

The free parties were mostly due to the SXSWi (interactive) crowd seeking promotion and attention getting opportunities with full open bars and appetizers sponsored by tech and media companies. We met a lot of tech entrepreneurs and start-up geeks, sat next to venture capitalists and record producers in cafes, and got the insider scoop on many more free events around the city. The energy and level of connection that people wanted to have with each other was amazing and unmatched by any other festival I've ever been to. What we didn't get to experience without a badge was any of the films- since those venues were all limited seating and were sold out with badge holders. We also didn't attend the panels, but we heard mixed reviews from people who did attend. The tradeshow sounded awesome, but with so many startups hosting parties elsewhere- we didn't feel like we missed out. We were leaving just as the music festival portion started kicking into gear with even more people filling the city. One record label dude was telling me that SXSW has pretty much become the largest music festival in the WORLD. I have a hard time believing that, but the sheer number of musicians filling every nook and cranny, as well as pop-up stages built just for the event is nothing short of amazing. I seriously cannot think of a better way to spend a spring break if you're over 21+ and a tech or music geek! Yes, it was epic.

Peeps: "you don't have to eat them, you can light them on fire & stick them to people" #SXSW
"Peeps, you don't have to eat them, you can light them on fire and stick them to people!"

While we were there to check out SXSW, for me it was also an opportunity to see why the city of Austin, TX has adopted the motto of "Keep it Weird." Between the trailer food parks, eclectic city neighborhoods, fearless local style, and fascination with novelty - the city did not disappoint in visual interestingness. Honestly, it was impossible to take it all in during one trip, but what an amazingly vibrant and creative city to live in!! No holds barred on creativity in Austin- which is why it's officially now my favorite city in Texas. ;-)

She's my cherry pie @piefixeseverything #SXSW

I decided to the whole adventure with my iphone and put it on Flickr (does it get any geekier?) Here's a photo slideshow of the complete adventure- mishaps and all. For caption detail, click on the images to open in Flickr and go one by :

1 comments, to add [click here]:

  1. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Looks like the best cherry pie EVER...


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