It’s that time of year again! SXSW, the industry showcase, is settling upon Austin, TX, packing bands and attendees into a downtown corridor this week. Professional partier and motivational speaker Andrew W.K. will be among the SXSW presenters, giving a lecture about partying, performing with rogue journalist Nardwuar The Human Serviette and hosting the Death Match Day Party with his club, Santos Party House. “It’s free, it’s all ages, it couldn’t be better,” W.K. says. “There’s free beer, too.” W.K. gave CMJ some SXSW party tips, so in case you are catching a flight to Austin (like we are), take heed from the master.
For the perpetual partier: “It certainly is possible to stay up 24 hours four days in a row. Although I’d be very surprised if anyone actually ended up doing that. I don’t know if that is the best way to approach SXSW, because by that third or fourth day I don’t know how much energy you have to contribute to partying or anything else. But if you have that desire, you can go 24 hours. There’s gonna be things starting right off the bat, first thing in the morning, and then there’ll be things going until as late at night as it can ever be and still be night.”
For the casual partier: “Just stand on a street corner, and just look at what’s going on. It’s very entertaining. It’s like a movie being played in front of your eyes. There’s enough unusual characters already in Austin that when you bring in the rest of the world from entertainment, it gets pretty loose and wild.”
Some consolation for the sub-21 set: “One of the great things about any festival environment, especially a city festival like Austin, is that you can just walk around. I remember the first time that I went to SXSW, I was unable to get into most of the shows—not because of my age, I was over 21, but because of wristbands and passes and tickets and things like that. But I still had a blast because there was so much going on just on the sidewalk! It’s certainly fun to get into these private clubs or limited-access areas, but to be honest a lot of times the excitement is not being able to get in, and once you get in, you see “What’s the big deal? This isn’t that great.”
And for those who can’t attend SXSW: “What is it about SXSW that makes it feel like what it is?” W.K. asks. His answer? “It’s the close proximity of a lot of things going on. That’s basically the feeling of a city. A city is a place where people gather together and there’s a whole bunch of stuff happening in a very small amount of space.”
So if you are not among those flocking to Austin and chowing on breakfast tacos, share in the vibe of SXSW by heading into your nearest city, where, as Andrew W.K. says, “there’s a party going on all the time. Whether it’s behind closed doors or out in the open, the odds are you can find some action going on—you just have to look for it.”