Big K.R.I.T. survives a zombie attack @ CMJ 2012. Photo by Saidy Lopez, illustration by Jimmy Orchard-Hays.

In an effort to help first timers navigate NYC for this year’s upcoming CMJ Music Marathon 2013, we asked around the office and polled some of the grizzled CMJ Music Marathon veterans out there for a few pro tips. Let’s cover a few basics first.
“Hey Hustler,” one informant offers, “make it rain: bring your business cards.” Truly sound advice, and if you’ve got half as much charisma as this source does, you’ll do well to bring some. Movers, shakers and emerging industry firebrands will be in heavy attendance at our featured panels this October—prime networking territory. You might even make a lifelong friend or two.
A CMJ badge is worth its weight in glossy laminated prestige, and then some (walk-up registration is now open at Judson Memorial Church). The gift bag, networking, and unlimited access it provides is priceless.
And now, the Top 15 Survival Tips for CMJ 2013:

1. Cash is king in NYC. Sure, our delis will put your coffee cup to go in a paper bag, and you’ll get a set of plasticware with just about anything you buy, but perks often end there. Be advised that many businesses are cash only. This includes restaurants where you can easily drop a day’s wages. Others might take plastic, but only accept one type of card. Beware of credit card minimums, too.
2. If you plan on using your phone for all that modernity demands of it, bring your charger with you to shows. Pro tip: flirt with the sound guy for your electrical needs—bartenders hate people bugging them for stuff that doesn’t pour, but the sound guy is lonely. So lonely.
3. Don’t over commit yourself to a hectic band schedule. Pick one or two per night that you really have to see, and then just let the night take you where it may.
4. Likewise, if you’re a planner, have a realistic game plan. Don’t try to get from Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen to Glasslands in Williamsburg in the same night.
5. If you must trek across vast distances in short order because your favorite band is in one spot and your boyfriend’s band is in another, then take a taxi. Don’t sweat the fare for once. To get across town on limited time, there is no better way to go.
6. Even better, have an app call a car for you, like a boss. Uber can connect you with a driver at the tap of a button. All CMJ registrants will receive a huge fare discount too!
7. Study a map. This is a big town, liable to make even the most seasoned traveller feel like a Hobbit fresh from the Shire. There will be some very pretty maps in your collectible festival guide, but before you get your hands on that, familiarize yourself with the lay of the land.
8. Bring your ID. Many venues will check to see that it matches your badge.
9. Get there early. Just because you have a badge, doesn’t mean you’re getting in. If a venue is at max capacity, that’s all there is to it, and popular shows will fill up fast.
10. Buddy up. There are often long lines outside the venues, and it’s more fun waiting with your friends than trying to find them after a long wait outside.
11. The popular daytime panels fill up quickly too. Snag a seat early before the room reaches capacity.
12. Bring a backup pair of earplugs because you don’t want tinnitus before you’re 40, and after five days your original pair will be kaput, and kind of nasty.
13. The only acceptable slice on the Lower East Side is Rosario’s, and it’s in between a dozen good venues.
14. New this year is CMJ Yoga, in the Kimmel Center. Start your day off right with a little hair of the downward dog.
15. Pack flexibly, including comfy shoes, maybe with squishy inserts. Walking is always the best way to travel here. You might want to look your best for an event in one of the fashion capitals of the world, but you should be equally prepared to battle rogues/zombies/giant rats in the subway as you are to attend an elegant dinner.