Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

SXSW Survival Tips

By Jennifer Cheng, March 12, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Jennifer Cheng

One of the biggest highlights of my year is the South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film and interactive conference and festival.

For about a week and a half, my city transforms into a world stage for creativity. I get so excited about people visiting from all over the world to innovate, collaborate and share knowledge, art and great music — and of course there are the parties. I call it “grown up spring break.” If you’re lucky enough to attend SXSW this year, here are a few tips I can offer, picked up from years of experience.

Local Whole Foods Markets: Our Lamar store is located downtown and will even be hosting some SXSW music showcases! The Gateway store is in northwest Austin, near many hotels.

SXSW Protip: Coconut water or coconut juice! It’s a source of natural electrolytes and I find it super refreshing if you’ve…indulged a bit too much the night before. We carry several brands and flavors.

If you’ve been busy learning, networking, sealing deals and checking out new bands at all hours of the day, you might not be at the peak of freshness, but not everybody needs to know your dirty secret. Make a pit stop in our Whole Body department to pick up items to help you clean things up.

Here are some that I like to throw in my purse:

  • Moist towelettes and dry shampoo, for on-the-go showers. Don’t forget to pick up some natural deodorant! The people next to you at the Stubbs showcase will appreciate it.
  • Sunscreen, because crazy Austin weather might hail first, then burn you with blazing sun on the same day.
  • A balancing moisturizer and a fabulous eye cream that might let you fake a few hours of beauty sleep.
  • Vitamins and supplements for a dose of normalcy.
  • 365 Everyday Value® Hand Sanitizer Spray for quick, discreet germ-blasting. The mint scent makes me feel fancy and clean!
  • Bach Flower Essences Rescue Energy Spray, a natural fatigue remedy. A quick spritz or two gives me a boost to stay out a little longer! Or try the drops — just add to water and go.

SXSW Protip: Make sure you look for items with the Premium Body Care™ symbol for the best of the best! 

I’ve seen some choice footwear out there in past years — but trekking all over town and standing in them for hours has got to hurt, not to mention having to walk through mud, people spilling beer on them or worse.

Luckily we’ve got plenty of comfy, washable TOMS shoes to the rescue! Plus your purchase of TOMS helps out a child in need, too. Every year, Austinites like me get requests for a place to crash and we find ourselves hosting friends, friends of friends, bands, friends of the band and couch-surfers.

Hosting out-of-towners is rewarding, but if you want to have as much fun as your guests, here are a few tips for SXSW pre-guest prep:

  • That coconut water I mentioned earlier? Go ahead and buy it by the case (remember you can get a case discount at our stores!); you won’t regret having lots on hand.
  • Coffee, coffee, coffee. You’ll be brewing plenty, and often. Allegro offers a wide range of roasts, so grab a few different bags of beans and keep them near your grinder and French press — your houseguests can brew a fresh cup of their choice.
  • Stock up on eggs, tortillas, shredded cheese, beans and salsa. Austin is deservedly famous for breakfast tacos. If you don’t feel like lining up at one of our many sure-to-be crowded establishments, guests can easily make their own. Here’s a recipe for Tofu Breakfast Tacos, in case your guests are vegetarian or vegan.
  • Keep a bowl of fruit and lots of snacks handy. If you’re hosting a group, chances are that people will be coming and going at all hours of the night and day. Having plenty of snacks available totally gets you off the hook for having to plan meals!

SXSW Protip: Being a fantastic host means that you’ll get to be their guest sometime too! Finally, if you’re on the street and craving something delicious, you can enjoy on-the-go offerings from our Whole Foods Market food truck.

Menu items include vegan falafel tacos, Korean short rib tacos, pork belly BLT sliders, vegan chickpea sliders and a variety of grab-and-go sandwiches along with drinks, fresh fruit, sides, snacks and desserts.

The truck will move to multiple locations during the Interactive and Film festivals and will be featured at the Green Zone (located on 7th and Red River) during the Music Festival. Tweets about the food truck route and locations will be sent from @wholefoods  and @SXSW.

Are you going to SXSW this year? Share your survival tips. Happy SXSW-ing everybody!

Category: Random Stuff