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What’s On: South By Southwest

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

One of the biggest festivals in the world showcasing music, technology and film is about to land in Austin, Texas. Here’s everything you need to know about South by Southwest.

Often shortened to SXSW, South by Southwest is set to highlight the latest in music, media, technology and film industries from 9 –18 March 2018. Starting out as a small indie music festival in 1987, SXSW is now a massive 10-day event with venues hosting concerts, conferences and parties throughout the Texan capital of Austin, attracting tens of thousands of revellers each year.

Finding something great

SXSW is notable for being an event to discover the ‘next big thing.’ Twitter first came into the spotlight here in 2007, singer-songwriters James Blunt and John Mayer were both discovered here and consequently signed to record labels, and countless films have premiered here, including Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010), Trainwreck (2015), Furious 7 (2015) and Baby Driver (2017).

Television series get the spotlight, too. In 2017, dozens of actresses dressed in red walked silently down the streets of Austin to promote Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and shows such as Dear White People and American Gods premiered at the festival too.

What’s on this year

More than 200 musical artists are set to hit the stage over the course of the festival, from all around the world. Keynote speakers this year include acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky (Noah, Black Swan, mother!), country singer Keith Urban, and music executive Lyor Cohen, who was involved in the careers of popstar Ed Sheeran, rock band The Killers and rapper Kanye West.

They’re in great company, with previous keynote speakers including former POTUS Barack Obama and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

 The city of Austin welcomes tens of thousand of visitors each year for South By Southwest festival

Getting there

The closest airport is Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and with tens of thousands of people making their way to Austin (not to mention locals who are attending the festival) it’s going to be busy. The last thing you want is to be stuck at the airport without a ride. The easiest way to get into Austin city from the airport is with a pre-booked airport transfer through You can choose between a shared shuttle or private transfer, depending on your budget.


You can register to attend the festival on the SXSW website. Registration gives you a badge to attend, and you can choose from different packages depending on your budget and interests. Platinum gives you primary access to all events, but there’s also music- and film-focused tickets, too.

While you’re in Austin

If you’ve got time to spare between all of the exciting events going on, check out the Barton Springs Municipal Pool. It’s around three acres in size and the warm natural waters mean it’s ideal for swimming all year round.

For a touch of nature, go for a walk in Zilker Park. Dog walkers love this green space, so you may say hello to some cute pooches.

Austin is also home to a number of museums, so if you need an art fix, check out the Blanton Museum of Art, or the Bullock Texas State History Museum for a dose of Texan history.

If you’re travelling to the US from overseas, why not check out our article on 8 Things You Should Know Before Travelling To The USA? There’s plenty of advice and tips on what to remember when travelling stateside.

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