Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

The real SXSW

Free food, "homeless hotspots" and long lines: here's what a trip to the annual media and technology festival is actually like.

Prepare to wait
Prepare to wait

More than 24,500 attendees registered for SXSW this year, a 27% increase from last year -- and it showed. Huge crowds were the norm, cabs impossible to come by. Attendees waited more than an hour-and-a-half the first day to pick up their badges in a line that snaked around the Austin Convention Center's entire first floor.

By JP Mangalindan, writer-reporter @FortuneMagazine - Last updated March 16 2012: 4:43 PM ET
Join the Conversation
5 things that mattered at SXSW

Couldn't make it to this year's new media pow-wow? Here's everything you need to know in 500 words or less.