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SXSW is way, way more than your average music festival. It’s a crazy convergence of music, film, and interactive media that descends on the city and guarantees a jam-packed festival weekend. People pretty much can’t stop raving about Austin, so SXSW is the perfect opportunity to find out what all the hype is about. Plus, for parties and never before heard of up and comers, SXSW can’t be beat. And there’s no place like Texas to infuse a Southwest vibe into your festival clothing, so be sure to pack everything denim you own.

1. Pocket-sized lifesaver

Hang on to that pocket guide – it’s how you’ll build your festival schedule and it has essential maps for navigating the vast SXSW terrain.

2. Climate change

Be prepared for the finicky climate with festival clothing layers, from tanks and tees, cut-offs and skinnies, to moto jackets and cozy hoodies.

3. Nom Nom Nom

First, check out Southbites, the gourmet food trucks and stands. Then venture further into the local dining scene, where delicious Mexican and Barbecue abound.

4. Embrace the Unknown

If you can’t get into a show you had planned to see, get yourself to another venue where a lesser known (or straight up obscure) band is playing.

5. Free swag

SXSW is not just a music festival y’all. With so many events taking place, you have to hit up the endless parties and events for freebies. Look them up beforehand since they often require an RSVP. I hate free swag…said no one ever.