South by Sold-out Wristbands

So the current allotment of SxSW music wristbands came and went by 5:30pm yesterday. That’s 4,000 wristbands gone in less than 24 hours, purely through walk-up traffic at Waterloo. It’s no surprise that SxSW gets a little bigger and a little more popular (and a little more expensive) every year, but this seems like a quite a jump in interest from recent years.

If you’re like me and didn’t get creative enough to skip work on Thursday, there’s still hope for shelling out hundreds of dollars. It seems likely that there’ll be another 1,000 or so wristbands released, at the discretion of SxSW organizers; pay attention and be prepared to pay a little more than the current $150 price. For those more attuned to the instant gratification of the gray market, check out eBay listings for resold wristbands. A couple dozen wristbands have already sold for an average of $275 each, so convenience has its price. At that rate, you’re not too far off from the $575 uber-badge that gets you preferred access and the joy of SWAG.

A good option that I’ve used a couple times is do nothing and just cruise SxSW gratis. There are lots of free (which means “packed”) showcases to enjoy, and several clubs like B.D. Riley’s have the doors and windows open so that passers-by can enjoy the bands. This is especially appealing since the wristbands don’t guarantee entrance to the most popular shows. In a way, you could consider this a low-cost method for disappointment management.

In any case, it’s shaping up to be quite an event.

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