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Archive for the ‘Accomodations & Amenities’ Category

How to get around Austin

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Richard Bagdonas is an Austin-based entrepreneur, and he knows his city. So his guide to getting around the Texan capital during SXSW is probably worth your time if you are coming from out of town:

Having lived just south of the downtown skyscrapers for a decade, I can tell you that driving during SXSWi is a cluster of epic proportions. The other reason that driving is tough is because the city of Austin always decides to close lanes on roads leading into downtown because it is the time of year that directly follows heavy rains and bitter cold: two things that wreak havoc on asphalt, pipes, electrical lines, etc.

Add to that the numerous rental cars and buses (or what we politely refer to as “rolling detours”) and you have the makings for one heck of a standstill on all major roads.

My best advice is to ditch vehicle transportation all together. No bus, taxi, Uber, Lyft or anything over 150cc.

I still think B-Cycle is your best option with a dash of walking at either side of the journey, but if you;ve got any tips, let everyone know in the comments.

The majestic Austin’s B-Cycle network needs you

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Just like SXSW, Austin as a city is constantly evolving, and the appearance of the B-Cycle network had a huge positive impact on my SXSW experience – so much so that I made a point of arranging a month-long membership of the short term mostly automated bike-hire before I left for Austin in 2015. I’ll be doing the same this year.

If you’re outside of Austin have a read over of how B-Cycle works at its website (in short, members can check a bike out for thirty minutes and check it in at any other station around town, and it takes around ten to fifteen minutes to go between some of the more distant stations).

Austin residents (our those of you who just want a different way of looking around the city) might want to volunteer for the SXCycles team, which will help keep the system running (and each shift offers credit towards an annual membership of the B-Cycle system).

South by Southwest is looming once again and Austin B-cycle will be hustling our bikes around the city to make sure everyone has the best chance to use a B-cycle to get around town. With the high demand of the festival attendees, our team is in need of some helping hands…or should we say “feet”…to help us move our B-cycles around the city.

If you’re looking to be apart of the SXSW hustle and bustle, join the Austin B-cycle team of volunteers for a fun-filled day(s) keeping the system balanced and riding B-cycles. Take a peek at our volunteer shift needs below and sign up today to help out!

More details on the blog, or sign up on Eventbrite.

Can SXSW Carry On Growing?

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

An interesting debate has started on the Austin American Statesman. Gissela Santacruz asks about the size of SXSW as an event, compares it to the explosive growth of Sundance,  and openly asks if it is simply too big:

It’s no secret that similar negative observations have been pointed out about SXSW. Austin residents and festivalgoers have been complaining for a few years now about public safety, traffic and the effect they have on the quality of a SXSW experience. Then, critics had more to make their case against SXSW growth after a tragic crash killed four people during SXSW in 2014. While enhancements to public safety measures have been made since the accident — measures applauded by the American-Statesman editorial board — it will be necessary for festival organizers to be more proactive in their planning to prevent more tragedies.

What started in 1987 as a stage to showcase independent musicians — adding film and interactive branches in 1994 — has exploded into a one Texas’ biggest Spring Break gatherings full of big names, big parties and bigger headaches for those who live and work in downtown where most of the official and unofficial SXSW gigs take place.

How long can SXSW continue to grow?  Hoel and bedspace has always been a major issue with the ‘walking distance’ hotels sold out months in advance (and that’s a a European walking distance), but infrastructure for transport around the city, the space required for events, presentations, showcases, and everything else… Austin is getting a bit cramped.

Can SXSW keep growing, or will more events like V2V be spun out of the SXSW ‘week’ in March to try and control the numbers?

And you can register for SXSW 2016… Now!

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

It’s time for the diehards to buy their badges for March next year, because  SXSW 2016 is now open for badge business and you can register for the 2016 Conferences. Given the smaller conferences springing up around the core three, the registration page has a handy chart as to what you can go to with each badge. That’s definitely worth a look of you are only taking in one or two of the main events.

Prices, as always, are on a sliding scale, with benefits to buying your badge as early as possible. Walk-up rates are available right up until the end of the Conference, but be honest, if you know you are definitely coming, then now is the time to buy a (non-refundable) badge.

thru Sept 21 thru Oct 3 thru Nov 20 thru Jan 15 thru Feb 12 Walk up
$1345 $1425 $1495 $1575 $1645 $1745
$1025 $1125 $1225 $1295 $1395 $1495
Music $650 $695 $725 $750 $795 $895
Film $525 $550 $575 $625 $650 $695
Interactive $825 $925 $1025 $1095 $1195 $1295

Oh and if you were looking for the best hotel rooms, the chances are that the main hotels next to the Austin Convention Center are, as usual, going to sell out incredibly quickly, so if you;re sure, and you know you are, then now is the time.


Get on your bike to get around Austin

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Once more, the SXSW team are working with the local Austin infrastructure to help you get around. The SXcycle program has been around on the fringes of SXSW for many years now, but the partnership with Austin B-Cycle should give it much more prominence this year.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with B-Cycle, you can essentially pick up a bike from one of many dock/stations around Austin, and cycle around for thirty minutes for free. At the end of the time, there’s a small hourly fee, or you just dock the bike at any other station to stop the clock. So yes, you can pick up a bike opposite the Long Center For Performing Arts, pedal over to Stubbs, and there’s no charge.

Well, there is the matter of a daily fee, but that’s where SXcycle comes in with its free vouchers!

From Friday, March 13th to Saturday, March 21st – 10am-8pm daily – the SXcycles depot at 604 Driskill St will hand out complementary B-cycle day pass vouchers to SXSW badgeholders. This $8 value grants attendees unlimited rides 30 minutes and under for 24 hours once activated. Each B-cycle comes with branded basket, three gear options, branded splash guard, reflectors, and built in lights. Voucher quantities are limited per day, so come early to get moving!

I found the B-Cycle station outside my hotel last year, and I never stopped peddling for SXSW week. THe vouchers are a great idea, but I’m already budgeting to sign up for all my time in Austin in advance.

Papers, Please!

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Well, the calendar has ticked over, it says 2015, and there’s no point putting off any more planning. In just over two months time, SXSW is under way… and we here at SXSW Baby are going to give you the best pointers, advice, hints, and tips, to make the most of your Austin Adventure.

First up, and this applies to pretty much everyone outside of the US. You really need a visa to visit the US, and if you haven’t got one, you’d better get a move on.

The other option is the Visa Waiver Program, and most people flying in from Europe will be able to take advantage of this and simply fly in without a visa. The only wrinkle to this is you do need to register with the ESTA – Electronic System for Travel Authorization – before you depart! It takes about ten minutes, it costs a few dollars, and you should make sure you’ve been approved.

Regulars at SXSW from abroad should have this under control, but ESTA needs renewed every two years, so it’s worth checking you’re still valid, because it’s a long and lonely flight home otherwise.

Austin is full, no more party space being given out

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

Here’s hoping that you’ve got your corporate party space booked for SXSW, because Austin City Council aren’t giving out any more permits. If you’ve left it too late (we’re looking at you, Microsoft), then it’s time to hustle and trade.

That doesn’t mean it’s going to be quiet in Austin. Via My Fox Austin, this year submitted permits for temporary music venues are up 9 (97 in 2013 to 106 in 2014), temporary use permits are also up 9 (to 107), and temporary change of use permits shoot up 26 (from 45 to 71).

There’s probably an out-sized Doritos machine in there as well…