9 Apps to help make the most of SXSW

I’m headed down to SXSW Interactive this week, and can’t.fucking.wait. In doing some preliminary research, I stumbled across a number of really cool web and mobile apps that might help maximize the experience and thought you might like them too. Will you be at SXSWi? Drop me a line if so!


This is the official mobile app of SXSW. It contains the schedule of all events, letting you see what’s happening so you can build an itinerary on the fly. It also has floor plans, maps, as well as a directory with the ability to connect with other attendees or speakers. Available on iPhone, iPad, and Android.


Violet Crown

Violet Crown is the newest location aware album from the Washington DC based duo, Bluebrain, designed specifically for SXSW. Yes, you read that right, a location aware album. It uses your iPhone’s GPS to alter the music according to where you are physically standing. I can’t wait to check this out! If you can’t make it to Austin this year, they have also released album apps for Central Park in New York and the National Mall in Washington DC, which are both insanely cool. Check out Wired.com’s recent write-up here.



Meetor is a networking app on the web that uses your Facebook profile information to make recommendations on people to connect with based on common interests, friends, or expertise. They have released a special version of the app for especially for SXSW. I just signed up for it, it recommended a number of interesting people right off the bat.



Highlight is another networking app for the iPhone, which actually uses your and other users’ GPS data to show who is around you. It then sends you push notification when someone is nearby that it might be beneficial/useful/cool to meet. I just installed it, and while the Big Brotherness of it is a bit creepy (it tracks you), I am looking forward to trying it out in Austin. Hopefully I won’t get murdered…fingers crossed.


Austin Food Carts

Austin is known for it’s food trucks (among other things), so this app tells you where all the trucks are and how far away they are from you at any given time. I imagine they will be swarming around the festival as it is, so I am looking forward to using a guide to find the best ones. (On another note, if you’re from Austin drop me a note in the comments with the can’t miss food trucks…)


SX Unlocked 

One of the biggest pains of SXSW is keeping track of and RSVPing for all the free parties and events (first world problems…it’s a tough life). Anyhow, an app called SX Unlocked will give you a list of all the parties, and the best part, RSVP for all of them for you (premium version). There are 2 levels of membership, a lite membership that gives you the listings and allows for 1-click RSVPing to each party. The $40 version does the RSVPing for you and a guest! It comes with a web app that is designed for mobile, so it can be used on any smartphone. My friends and I are trying out the $40 version, we’ll see how it goes.



Songkick is an awesome service regardless if you are attending SXSW or not. It combs your music library and gives you a list of shows happening around you. It prioritizes the shows based on if you have them in your library, but will also show a complete listing as well. For a live music heavy event like SXSW, I imagine this will come in pretty handy.



The official mobile app for Austin’s news and culture magazine of the same name. It’s mostly just a reader app, showing you the latest articles. It even allows you to send in photos if you are at any of the events they have listed in their calendar.


The Statesman

The official app for Austin’s major newspaper, the Statesman. Contains Latest News, their blogs, and photos. Also primarily a reader app, but its always good to now what’s happening around you!