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SXSW 2014 – The Logistics of a (sorta) Nightmare

Welcome to SXSW
image via Flickr Shemp65 cc
Another South by Southwest has passed us by and we Austinites are pretty happy about it. Don’t get me wrong, SXSW is a good time – a great time to some, but it is a logistical nightmare that clogs traffic and restaurants like fried trailer food clogs our arteries. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that the entire stretch run from Friday, March 7th to Sunday, March 16th broke many a people’s diets. For those of you that aren’t familiar, South By Southwest (SXSW) is a music festival, tech conference, and movie premiere all rolled into one two week period. It started in 1987 solely as a music festival, but by 1994 a technology and film aspect had been added. If you want to learn more about the history of SXSW, feel free to check out their website. But as this is a shipping and logistics blog (among other things), let’s talk about the logistical nightmare that SXSW can bring with it – an acid rain of hippies, techies, movie stars, producers, cool kids, and Justin Bieber.
image via flickr Shemp65 cc
The first issue that you’ll run across are the massive, roaming hoards of out-of-towners. People come from all over the world to attend this festival and Austin, already a bit overcrowded at times, can have a hard time accommodating them. Hotels are booked and filled months before the festival, so if you’re planning on taking a nice vacation to the capital of Austin during SXSW, I would suggest checking hotels.com for San Antonio openings. And it’s not just the hotels! Many residents in and around the downtown area rent out their homes and apartments to visitors through HomeAway and Airbnb. As most of the main SXSW action is barricaded to the downtown area, you can only imagine how difficult it can be to get around the bicycles, cabs, pedicabs, and buses. So many buses EVERYWHERE. So you have all these people with badges running around, right? How are they supposed to get anywhere? Welcome to major issue number two: transportation. There are simply just not enough modes of transportation available to the attendees of SXSW. If you have a car, the idea of driving around town (not just downtown) brings true traffic nightmares because the roads are too clogged with pedestrians and pedicabs to do anything. There are the taxicabs of course, good luck getting one of those when thousands and thousands of others are willing to pay cold hard cash to snag your ride. There are options available for car rentals outside of the norm such as Getaround, and Uber, though the Austin police department might have something to say about it. There are, of course buses and trains available, but expect to wait in lines for hours for both services. Most of the time, you’re better off walking. As you can see, SXSW brings with it a unique set of problems for Austin. It’s not all bad news though, SXSW is a huge earner for Austin and brings exposure and culture to a city that’s always looking for more. FreightPros took advantage of the party as both Chris and Scott (FreightPros owners) attended conferences during the interactive festival, while Emilio (Accounts Payable) caught a set by Texan Jonny Gray, and Maya (Operations Intern) snagged a show and picture with J. Greene and The Steady at the Blind Pig on the famous 6th street.
Maya, roommate, and someone who might or might not be J Greene
Maya, roommate, and someone who might or might not be J Greene
As for me and my SXSW experiences? Well, I can confirm I waited in line on Rainey Street Friday night for a Snoop Dogg (Lion) show, sipping gin and juice. Like most shows at SXSW, I didn’t get in. Too bad there aren’t pictures. Until next year SXSW, Cheers! Want more SXSW? Check out our owner Scott’s take on fostering intrapreneurship. Also, it’s the time of year to get yourself caught up on the produce season shipping rates.

Logan Theissen

Logan is a Content Marketing Associate at FreightPros in charge of social media and content creation. He has a writing degree from the University of Oklahoma, but lives life on the edge and resides in Longhorn country. He loves Murakami books, Tarantino movies, and Vonnegut books. Lots of books. One day he will own a dog, but first he'll have to get a yard.

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