We recently asked one of our New York Localeurs, Dre Hayes (co-founder of The Foundation), what his must-have items for SXSW are – he’s done the festival more times than we can count. Here’s what he had to say.
1. Smartphone A smartphone may be the most essential item you bring with you to SXSW or anywhere else. Whether it is to access the Localeur SXSW guide, upload notable moments to Instagram, or use Google Maps to get around Austin, it is an important tool to stay connected to the people and places around you.
2. Comfortable shoes A festival is NOT the place for heels or shoes you can’t stand in for long periods of time. At SXSW, you have to anticipate that there will be tons of walking from attraction to attraction. A comfortable pair of shoes are a basic necessity to get you through each day.
3. Backpack or day bag You will definitely need a place to stash all of your belongings while you are roaming around SXSW. A bag that can hold a lot of stuff is ideal so that you can keep close those extra layers of clothing, sunscreen, a bottle of water, and whatever else you may need from morning to night. (I prefer a backpack because it keeps my hands free to take pictures, hold a drink, or just put my hands up with the crowd). As with everything else you bring, choose a bag you don’t mind getting dirty or damaged.
4. Mini umbrella Weather is the most unpredictable factor in any city, so it is imperative to plan ahead and bring a mini umbrella just in case. The worst thing would be to walk around soggy or drenched.
5. Mophi The Mophi Powerstation is something I never leave the house with, especially when I know I will be on the move all day. This little block provides reliable on-the-go power that is capable of charging virtually any USB device, meaning you can charge your iPhone and your friend’s Samsung Galaxy. Unlike rechargeable cases, the Powerstation provides power that can be shared communally – perfect for SXSW.
We know everyone is super excited for #sxsw this week and we are too! That said, there’s probably no better day than today to announce the next city we’ll be launching on Localeur: Dallas! It’s obviously one of the largest cities in the country, but it’s also home to plenty of great drinking, eating and shopping destinations not to mention one of America’s best sports towns. Stay tuned for more info on our upcoming Dallas launch!
Join us at Whisler’s at 1816 E. 6th Street on Friday, March 7 from 10pm to midnight and kickoff SXSW the right way. The local way.
After my writeup on Huffington Post about How to Experience SXSW Like a Local, I got a flood of questions from out-of-town friends about how important a badge is during SXSW. Do you need one? Does a platinum badge get you a lot more than a Music or Interactive badge? Can you still see some of the tech talks or music showcases without a badge?
No matter how innovative Fast Company deems SXSW (#12 on their recent “50 Most Innovative Companies” list), the Austin conference is not building electric cars, curing cancer or creating a new way for musicians to share their music. Ultimately, SXSW is in the business of selling conference badges. That means the more badges they sell, the more money they make. So don’t rely on anyone officially associated with SXSW to tell you how much value you can get by not paying SXSW; you won’t get an honest answer.
So here are five differences between doing SXSW with a badge versus without one:
1. If you’re a panel speaker, you’re attending SXSW to represent your brand, company or self professionally, which means you’re on the job. If you paid for a badge (or your employer did), you’re also on the clock. This means your top priority is making sure you justified the expense of the hotel and flight (not to mention the badge) and time away from the office.
As a result, you’re going to spend about 90 percent of your time within the 10 to 12 block radius of the Austin Convention Center and Sixth Street District. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it means you aren’t going to be experiencing much of what Austin has to offer outside of Downtown. And Austin’s Downtown core is pale in comparison to those in cities like Chicago or New York so don’t expect to stumble into the best art museum west of the Mississippi or have the meal of your life.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a badge, the entire city is your oyster. Localeur is your best resource for experiencing everything the city has to offer during and away from SXSW.
2. No, you aren’t going to see a single keynote speaker. If you think you’re going to see and hear from star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson or Girls writer/director/star Lena Dunham, think again. You better have some major hookups with the powers that be at SXSW who can walk you directly into Exhibit Hall 5 if you’re looking to see one of the headliner speakers.
3. The same goes for the headlining Music fest acts. The chances of seeing Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Prince, Metallica or Justin Timberlake in recent years has been slim-to-none even for SXSW badge holders so it’s almost a nonstarter to think you’re getting into the deluxe venues like ACL Live at the Moody Theater sans badge.
4. Networking is easier, but it’s also harder. With a SXSW badge, you can get right in the middle of the action for network purposes at the convention center or the tradeshows. That’s the good news. Bad news is you’re in the middle of the action so it’s sometimes hard to choose between seeing so-and-so speaker versus walking a few blocks to a nearby hotel to meetup with that fellow developer or designer you’ve been in touch with via Twitter.
Without a badge, you have far less opportunities to see talks and participate in speaker sessions so networking during Interactive or seeing free shows during Music can easily become your top priority so the few blocks walk is just another reason to enjoy Austin weather and stop by for a taco or beer nearby.
5. Nightlife versus daytime action. With a SXSW badge, you’ve got to get at least four hours of value out of the daytime hours. Going to a couple of nighttime parties or music showcases simply isn’t enough value for the amount you (or your company) paid if you ask me.
Without a badge, you’re free to sleep in, get a late lunch, hang out with friends who’ve also flown in from other cities (or those living in Austin) and then make the most of the free activities at night, of which there are plenty since SXSW knows the 55,000 or so badge holder number aren’t enough to sell mega sponsorship to companies like Miller Lite. No, those companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the 200,000-plus people who’ve come to SXSW for the creative energy, music discovery, parties and rumors of free beer and delicious tacos.
Final note: I did the no-badge thing in my college years while attending the University of Texas at Austin and also during my mid-20s. Now that I’ve spent the last several years more directly involved in SXSW both in fashion (as the creator of Style X) and tech, I can no longer do SXSW without a badge. SXSW is a learning and networking opportunity unlike any other in the world for creatives and entrepreneurs so I’d recommend you commandeer a badge if you can. If not, party during the day and remember there’s always plenty networking wherever there’s free beer.
- Joah aka Chief Localeur
Austin’s still working on its public transit system so in the meantime…
The time has come…SXSW is just around the corner and we know plenty of you want to know where to eat, who to see speak or perform, what parties to attend and so forth. That’s why we’ve curated the best of our Austin Localeurs’ recommendations to give you the ultimate insider’s guide on how to experience local during SXSW.
Simply go to www.localeur.com/SXSW and be prepared to feel like an Austinite! We’ll be dropping new recommendations each week ‘til the fest so make sure to come back for more.
Don’t fall for tourist traps like this guy. Experience local with the Localeur iPhone app.
Since we launched the site last March, travelers have come to Localeur to connect with local insiders and find out about great local places to experience cities as locals do. We are committed to making this experience as easy and intuitive as possible. As part of this effort, we are excited to introduce the Localeur iOS app.
The Localeur iOS app harnesses two powerful types of technology currently not available on the Localeur site: real-time geolocation and user interaction storage.
Both features are critical for travelers. Geolocation allows you to immediately see what is locally-recommended around you. No more looking for coffee around you and getting Starbucks or 7-11, no more looking for a quick bite and getting McDonalds or Little Caesars. Now, you’re being quickly directed to the nearest Houndstooth Coffee, Intelligentsia, Crave Cafe, Bassanova Ramen or Umami Burger. We do this by sorting Localeur-recommended places by distance from you, then letting you specify what you’re looking for. Looking for drinks? No problem. Looking for a local boutique? Just select your filter and you’re on your way. We even now give you a little real-time compass to keep you headed in the right direction.Over the past nine months, we’ve taken time to listen to our users. We’ve heard loud and clear that Localeur users want to be able to favorite places, recs and Localeurs that they like. So now you can favorite any place, rec or Localeur and save those favorites on your profile to share with your friends. You can even now sort places by favorites and see your friends’ favorites on Localeur. We like to think of it as meta-curation. This gets you right to best local recommendations quickly and easily.
Along with our site, we also let users browse by their favorite Localeurs and recommendations on the iOS app, now with a much more refined mobile experience. This could be anything from Joah’s Favorite Date Night Spots in Austin to Marian’s Four Best Places to Hike in San Francisco. And of course you can sort these by city, category and now even by popularity. So what’s this mean? This means that if you go to New York, you can pop open the Localeur app, see what local places your friends like there, what local insiders recommend, and you can even turn on our experimental “Traveler Mode” to receive push notifications when you’re near a locally-recommended place. Then, when you get home from your trip, you can switch back to “Local Mode” and only be notified when new content is added to your home city on Localeur. Right now this only applies to Austin, Houston, LA, New York and San Francisco, but we’re adding new cities often, so there’s plenty more to come. After all, we’re certain you’ll want to stay in the know about where fellow locals are going in your own city, too.
Over 20 percent on the internet is being browsed on mobile devices now. With this development and the creation of our API, we expect to meaningfully improve the ability for users to find and support great local places while utilizing the insightful content that the Localeur community is creating every day. We’re excited to continue to develop this app with your invaluable user feedback to improve this experience and jump into Android.
Experiencing local is the best way to explore cities, and now you can do it on the go.
Now, go ahead and give it a spin: Localeur iOS on the App Store.
Localeurs and friends,
We’re truly excited to present to you the newest member of the Localeur family: The Localeur Heart.
The Localeur heart icon is a graphic representation of “liking” or “favoriting” something on Localeur. A representation of “local love”, the icon is an abstraction of a heart shape overlapping and supporting itself. The left arch slightly higher than the right, the mark is intended to be youthful, unique and welcoming. This icon is our representation of exploring local culture.
Although, most of you are familiar with our typeface, we felt we owed it to our Localeur community to give them a mark or badge that signifies who they are and what they’re doing.
We use a rounded, sans serif type in our mark, intended to be representative of a tech-savvy, people-driven travel team. Inspired by a monochromatic version of the Mohawk Paper logo, our usage contrasts our vibrant gradient heart icon. Ahh, a typeface that captures local love. :)
You’ll begin to see the mark integrated into the site, social pages and fully baked into our beautiful new iOS app (you have downloaded it, right?). You’ll also see it making appearances on new gear for Localeurs coming out at the beginning of the year. What a great year we have ahead of us. Now, we’ll let you two get to know each other a bit…
Cheers to loving local,
Cofounder & Head of Product