North Texas Daily

SXSW is overrated, sorry ’bout it

SXSW is overrated, sorry ’bout it

March 21
23:20 2018

Festivals are expensive, we get it. And for the most part, we will pay for it — if it’s worth it. In my case, I went to Coachella. Yes, Drake was headlining. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, I am still paying off that trip.

But as a first-time SXSW attendee, I have some questions.

First of all, $1,325 for a pass is a little extreme, especially because this price only covers film, music and interactive badges individually. Those badges do not guarantee you access to every event, and even if you are granted access, you’re most likely “secondary priority” alongside the public, who didn’t pay a dime.

The platinum badge, which is like the “VIP” badge, gives you access to anything and everything, but it’s $1,650.

So, you’re basically waiting in line for an event at a venue that is way over capacity, only to be allowed in one-by-one once people actually begin to leave.

Plus, having to wear a badge the entire time was lame. At every festival or concert I’ve ever gone to, it’s always been a wrist band. I mean, I honestly thought I was only given a badge because I was with the press. However, after noticing everyone attending had badges, I caught on to the trend.

In all my experience of festivals, everything is enclosed in the same area. SXSW is spread out throughout the city, with multiple different events going on at different times, many over lapping each other.

Parking was a literal nightmare.

You could spend hours looking for free parking on a random street somewhere and pray your car doesn’t get towed. Or you could suck it up and pay the $40 for all-day parking, only to realize the event you planned on going to was moved to a different venue all the way across the city, and there’s no way you can walk there.

As for the selection of content the festival provided, I felt like the music and interactive events fell short. Don’t get me wrong — there were some amazing artists who performed and some pretty cool robotics and tech things to look at. Would I personally spend a little more than a grand on a badge specifically for music and interactive? Absolutely not.

I felt like the film selection was pretty good, however the venues were extremely packed and lacked regulations for which badges could enter upon priority. In one film, I was sitting next to someone who was obviously uninterested and was using his cell phone throughout the duration of the movie.

All in all, SXSW was a fun experience. With your badge you’re given a punch card — good for a free drink every day — and almost every event I attended was open bar or we were given wristbands for free drinks. Then there’s the bar scene — which everyone goes to directly after the last event every night.

The city has a fun vibe to it, so honestly just being in the city alone was an experience.

But at the end of the day, would I personally drop that much money on a badge next year? Probably not.

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Nina Quatrino

Nina Quatrino

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