How to Survive Not Being At SXSW

Illustration for article titled How to Survive Not Being At SXSW
Photo: Rick Kern (Getty Images for Samsung)

If you’re a fan of music, tech, film, gaming and/or the intersection of all of the above, you’re probably aware that the 2018 South by Southwest Festival is currently underway in Austin, TX. Full disclosure: I’ve attended SXSW eight times and decided to stop going last year. Honestly, not going is chill?


When you’re not at SXSW, or preparing to attend the last few days of SXSW, or thinking about SXSW, you start to realize there are far too many “How to Survive SXSW” guides out in the world. What about the rest of the population who isn’t going, or those who have no interest in attending? Or the folks experiencing severe FOMO by not being at SXSW?

I’m here for the lot of ya—with a guide on how to survive not going to South by Southwest. Yeehaw!


Remind yourself that you didn’t have to buy plane tickets...

In early January, when the entertainment business began to wake from its end-of-year slumber, you arose, well-rested. The SXSW emails started pouring in, the Tweets never stopped, and you ignored them. When your friends asked if you’ve purchased flights to Austin (How were they already that damn expensive?) you told them “no.” You climbed back into bed. You were so cozy. Remind yourself of how damn cozy you were.


...And that you didn’t book a hotel room with 10 of your closest friends and probably some randos.

Just think of all the money you’re saving, not being at SXSW. And you have your own bed, you know, the one you sleep in every night? Of course, this isn’t everyone’s SXSW reality—for those who work in the biz, I’m sure you’ve scored your own place to rest your head—but come on! What’s better than being home?


Listen to new music not brought to you by Doritos or Tinder.

SXSW acting as a place for music discovery is a myth. The artists who play there are almost always (I say almost because I’m a generous and kind person) on the rise in their own right, and if you put the time and care into finding cool new sounds, then you’ll realize being ahead of the curve isn’t about going to see a bunch of young musicians in the middle of the day, at a heavily branded event while melting in the Texas heat. It’s about finding them yourself!


Get an appropriate amount of sleep.

SXSW can be all fun and games, but after a week or two of back-to-back gigs, beginning in the breakfast taco hour all the way to 4 a.m., your body begins to hate you. Not being at SXSW? Tons of snoozin’. You’re welcome.


Enjoy the slow trickle of a slow (entertainment) news week.

The world is going to shit and now you can educate yourself on Trump’s latest shenanigan instead of obsessing over what you’re missing out on, musically. Because it’s not much...everyone is busy, so enjoy your break.


Here’s to us, festival-avoiders. We did it!

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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