The South by Southwest Music Festival is less than two months away and on Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m., the festival will release the first round of wristbands. The passes will set you back $169 (which is $20 cheaper than they were this time last year when the second round dropped) and will be available on the festival’s website.
The initial round of wristband sales will be available only to residents living in the Austin area. As in past years, by SXSW’s definition, the Austin area includes Waco, College Station, San Marcos, Killeen and New Braunfels, but not San Antonio.
Last year, festival reps explained that they omit the Alamo City to keep passes available to local fans. “Expanding online wristband sales to San Antonio, the seventh largest market in the U.S., is problematic. The Waco, Killeen and College Station combined population is 1 million less than San Antonio,” reps said when the wristbands went on sale last year.
SXSW music kicks off a day earlier than usual this year with events beginning on Monday, March 13 and running through Saturday, March 18. Overall, the festival is moving to great convergence this year, with a new system that will allow Interactive and Film badge-holders secondary access to music events and vice versa. The expanded access came at a price. Last year, the base price for early bird music festival badges for the 2017 fest went up from $650 to $825. Music badges are currently available for $1225.
Music wristband-holders will be placed in the same secondary access line as Interactive and Film badge-holders for SXSW music showcases. Music and Platinum badge-holders will get primary access to music showcases.
In practical terms, at $169, a SXSW Music wristband, is still the best festival value in town, in terms of the volume of shows you’ll have access to over a six-day period, but wristband-holders should plan to show up very early to get into the week’s buzzier showcases.
UPDATE: This blog has been updated clarify information about last year’s wristbands.