THE CASE FOR SXSW

Maxim - - THE PARTY STARTS NOW - —Chase Hoff­berger

we’ve all heard the rap: Af­ter 28 years as the na­tion’s coolest ar­biter of indie rock, SXSW has be­come a grid­locked cor­po­rate night­mare. The lines are too long, the hip­sters too smug, and no mat­ter how many hands you grease, the odds of see­ing the band you dis­cov­ered on Pitch­fork’s “Best New Mu­sic” lineup are slim to you’re-out-of-your-mind. But here’s the re­al­ity: SXSW is still one hell of a good time. The cyn­ics are just do­ing it wrong.

SXSW con­tin­ues to at­tract thou­sands of yet to be dis­cov­ered acts hop­ing to make a splash in the spirit of fes­ti­val break­outs like John Mayer and the White Stripes. But, more im­por­tant, the event still draws throngs of peo­ple from around the world who are sim­ply look­ing to party their faces off and catch some shows along the way.

The best way to make SXSW 2015 an ex­pe­ri­ence worth your time, money, and liver is to re­sist the urge to jump into the rat race. Sixth Street—the fes­ti­val’s epi­cen­ter—is what frat pledges en­vi­sion when they pon­der the af­ter­life. Avoid it. If you can smell “Dirty Sixth” or see a savvy hobo hawk­ing down-to-earth “street wis­dom,” you’re too deep in the heart of down­town dark­ness. The far­ther you ven­ture from SXSW’S fes­ter­ing nu­cleus, the eas­ier it will be to jus­tify your hang­overs. In just about any estab­lish­ment within a five-mile ra­dius, a way more en­joy­able ver­sion of the mad­ness is in full swing. Day par­ties are the heart and soul of the fes­ti­val, and they’re ev­ery­where. An af­ter­noon booz­ing, flirt­ing with hip­ster girls, and watch­ing still-emerg­ing indie bands is well worth the trip. East of down­town, true blue dives of­fer an ag­gres­sively grit­tier take on SXSW, while a five-minute cab ride north will put you near Uni­ver­sity of Texas, where lo­cal wa­ter­ing holes cater to a more Austin-y crowd.

Only af­ter mid­night will you want to ven­ture down­town. Bars in Austin close at 2 a.m. But Bar­barella, the most rau­cous Pbr-fu­eled disco this side of Oak­land, stays open un­til 3 a.m. That’ll give you an ex­tra hour be­fore head­ing across the street to cap off the night with Rop­polo’s pizza, the break­fast of a true SXSW cham­pion.

It’s still the best party in Austin. But do it right: Ditch the meat­head-heavy, Pr-in­fused, urine-soaked main drag and head for the out­skirts of town.

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