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SXSW 2010 for Noobs

A ReadWriteWeb Guide

So, you’ve booked your passage, you’ve made sleeping arrangements, you’ve got your Interactive Badge all lined up and you just can’t wait for the second week of March to roll around. You’re a first-time SXSW attendee!

We know the feeling: The manic excitement, the trepidation, the wondering which essential knickknack you’ll forget to pack. We were once South By Newbies, too. Here’s our list of ten sessions, events and venues you absolutely must hit up on your first foray into South by Southwest Interactive.

This is part of a series of ReadWriteWeb guides to SXSW Interactive 2010. If this guide isn’t your cup of tea, be sure to check back for more information soon!

How to Not Be a Douchebag at SXSW

“Aimed at both first-time and long-time attendees to SXSW Interactive, this biting and humorous yet useful panel takes a look at the common actions and behaviors to avoid if you don’t want to be described as ‘doing it wrong.'” This conversation features Ed Hunsinger and Violet Blue (a fan favorite at RWW).


If music is your bag, head to this second-generation event at Six Lounge for more than five hours of karaoke with a live band. There will also be dancing with DJ Johnny Bravvo in the Tap Room next door and the mellow tunes of The James Moran Band on the upstairs patio.

ReadWriteWeb’s Party

Of course, we’d love it if you stopped by our party on Sunday night! We’re cohosting with NPR, PBS and a few others at KLRU’s Legendary Austin City Limits Studio. We’ll have live bands, Tex-Mex nosh, margaritas – the quintessential Austin experience. Free shuttles will be available at the Hilton.


Avoid it like the plague! (Sorry, we saw the pun, and we went for it.)

“Each year at SXSW, you hear about ‘SXSW SARS’ or ‘SXSW Scurvy.’ Days packed with panels, movies and concerts are exhausting and wear down your immune system. Learn some ways in which you can prepare for and perhaps avoid getting sick at SXSW.” With Jay Goldman.

Salt Lick Bar-B-Que

Located about 22 miles outside of Austin, this famous and much-loved restaurant is a favorite of many longtime SXSW attendees – and it’s well worth the drive. We suggest organizing a caravan or hitching a ride with a group that plans to go. It’s also great for those who’d like an hour or two away from the madness in the city. One word of warning: Don’t go on a completely empty stomach. The wait for a table can be a bit long, especially when you’re starving from a day of running around the convention center.

How to Rawk SXSW

“Panels or parties? Sleep or sessions? Veteran SXSW speakers and attendees give their light-hearted insights and tips on making the most of your next few days in geek wonderland.” With Min Jung Kim, Ben Huh, Denise Jacobs and Jeremy Keith.

The Driskill

If you’re the kind of fellow or lady who shuns the big-brand-sponsored, jam-packed, fanboy-fueled blowouts such as take place each spring in Austin, perhaps this hotel lounge will be more to your liking. Often a favored location for impromptu meetups, the Driskill features comfortable seating, agreeable lighting and a more grownup atmosphere for those who take exception to dirt floors and plastic cups.

SXSW Web Awards

“The Web Awards Ceremony is the centerpiece of evening activities at the SXSW Interactive Festival and an event not to be missed. Hosted by Doug Benson with special surprises in store for the big ‘lucky 13’!”

Keynote Interview with Ev Williams

Three years after his web app hit it big at SXSW 2007, Twitter co-founder Ev Williams takes the main stage to be interviewed by Havas Media Lab director Umair Haque in front of a live audience . All we have to say is that you’d better get there early if you don’t want to get stuck watching a simulcast in an adjacent room!

SXSW Music

Yes, you read that right: We’re calling the Music portion of SXSW a must-do for any attendee of SXSW Interactive. Here’s why.

Each year, a few Music folks come to Austin early, and a few Interactive folks stay late – but those folks are few, indeed. There’s a wonderful opportunity here for our very different crowds to mingle, to make the Web better for musicians and make the experience of music better for online and mobile platforms, and it all begins with conversations.

Also, even two days of SXSW Music will provide you with enough shows, parties and coincidental meetups to leave you seeing the world through rose-colored glasses for months afterward. So book another day at your hotel and scalp a wristband – you’ll never regret it.

Those are our SXSW Interaction recommendations for noobs of all stripes. If you’ve got suggestions or feedback, let us know in the comments! See you in Austin, folks!

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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