General Perk Information

Volunteers can earn perks by working hours on either an All-Conference or Music Festival Crew.

New for 2016, volunteers will no longer be able to choose to earn the Volunteer Interactive or Film Badges, or Music Wristband. These perks were in low demand and with the newly lowered hours for perks, it's easy to earn a Volunteer Gold or Music Badge!

Remember the following when considering your volunteer type and the desired perk you wish to earn:

  • All-Conference Volunteers are required to work a minimum of 24 hours, and may work on up to 2 crews to obtain their desired perk.

  • Music Festival Volunteers must work a minimum of 24 hours toward a music perk, and may work on ONE crew to obtain their desired perk.

  • ALL perks are non-transferable and will only be issued to the volunteer working the hours/shifts.

  • Venue age and capacity restrictions apply.


Hours Perk Reward


Hours Perk Reward

Volunteer SXSWedu Badge: Access to all SXSWedu events to include screenings, trade show, panels, mentor sessions and most parties. A minimum of half the volunteer's hours must be worked between March 9-12.

Volunteer Gold Badge: Access into all SXSW Film and Interactive events, including screenings, trade show, panels, mentor sessions and most parties. Holder may also pick up both Film and Interactive Big Bags and Directories. Not eligible for SXXpress Pass, SXsocial and some lounges.

Volunteer Music Badge: Access into SXSW Music events, including trade show, panels, mentor sessions, most parties and the Sunday Softball & BBQ. Holder may also pick up a Music Big Bag and Directory. Not eligible for SXXpress Pass, SXsocial and some lounges.

Volunteer Platinum Badge*: Access to all SXSW Film, Interactive and Music events, including film screenings, showcases, panels, trade show, most parties and the Sunday BBQ & softball tournament. The holder may also pick up Big Bags and Directories for all 3 conferences and festivals. Not eligible for SXXpress Pass, SXsocial and some lounges.

*Volunteer Platinum Badges are reserved for returning volunteers. Returning volunteers that have never earned a Volunteer Platinum Badge previosuly and would like to do so in 2016, will need to have a Volunteer Platinum Badge Nomination Form filled out by their prior year's crew manager during the Volunteer Call, or via email for Out of Town Volunteers. Volunteer Platinum Badges may also be acquired on specialty crews, which require that volunteers possess a proven technical skills and have demonstrated, or provided proof of such skill.


All-Conference Volunteers vs. Music Festival Volunteers
Both types of volunteer will earn hours toward their perk. However, Music Festival Volunteers work less hours toward their perk due to the limited time frame provided to earn their perk, whereas All-Conference Volunteers can earn their hours across the entire event. Music Festival Volunteers only work on ONE crew since these crews require more in depth training to perform effectively during the event.

Upgrading Your Perk During the Event
It is possible to upgrade your perk during the event, however it is not a common practice and not approved unless there is a valid need for additional assistance. Additional hours must be obtained on your existing scheduled crews, not new crews. Be sure this takes place before returning to Volunteer Central to obtain your upgraded perk.

T-shirts can be upgraded to any badge type.

SXSWedu can be upgraded to any badge type if the SXSWedu badge has not been picked up. If the SXSWedu Badge has been picked up and the volunteer wishes to earn a SXSW perk, the volunteer may do so by working the required number of hours for the additional perk. Hours must first be requested from the volunteers current crews.

Music and Gold Badges can be upgraded to Platinum with crew chief or staff approval.

Attending Film Screenings, Music Showcases, Panels Volunteers receiving a badge are entitled to a Directory for the appropriate conference(s) and festival(s) their perk pertains to. The Directory is a SXSW essential and is filled with information about all of the events taking place during SXSWeek. Pocket Guides are also available for pick-up by all attendees and can be found throughout the ACC. These are smaller, quick reference guides that will give schedules for film screenings, panels, showcases and some of the many parties. There is one for each of the 3 conferences and festivals.

If an event is not found in our Directories or Pocket Guides, then it isn’t ours and we will be unable to help you with information regarding that event. There are hundreds and hundreds of “unofficial” SXSW activities that are mistaken for SXSW organized events.

Access to events is restricted to the appropriate credential. For example, you cannot attend a music panel if you have a Volunteer Gold Badge. You must have a Volunteer Music or Platinum Badge. Most events in the ACC are badge only. Read over the perks and become familiar with what can and cannot be accessed with your perk. Badges all have the same level of access to their appropriate conferences and festivals. For example, a Platinum Badge does not have priority over a Volunteer Music Badge. The Volunteer Platinum Badge just means that you have access to more than one conference and festival.

Your volunteer commitment comes first. Leaving your volunteer shift to catch films, panels, shows, etc. is prohibited and may result in revocation of your perk. Make sure and clear all absences from your crew with your crew chiefs or stage manager in advance if you are scheduled to work and there is something you want to see. Sometimes it will be no problem at all, but during peak busy times they may need you to stay on shift.

Having a Plan and A Back-up Plan
There is so much to see or do at SXSW that you are never missing out on anything!

You didn’t get into that film you wanted to see on opening night. Wait a few days and catch the second screening, or sometimes third screening.

You couldn’t get into the big show at Stubb’s. Walk across the street and check out that unknown band that might just be the next big thing. Every year, we hear stories about the new bands that people just happened upon and they fall in love with. Remember, there are over 100 venues to choose from. The same goes if you are under 18 or 21. Check out the many venues that do not have age restrictions.

Did you miss a panel you wanted to see? Check them out on our website during and after the event. If you couldn’t get in because the room was full, check to see if there is a live feed available in another location.

Have a plan of action or just go with the flow. Regardless of your strategy, you will have a great time!

Attending SXSW Official Parties
Parties are a big deal at SXSW and there are A LOT of them. Official parties are listed in the Directories and Pocket Guides. If it isn’t listed, it isn’t an official party and we have no control over it. Official party clients work with SXSW to ensure SXSW policies are being followed, especially in regard to access.

Some parties may be invitation only. This restriction is at the discretion of the hosting client, and not SXSW. If you cannot get into a party for one reason or another, don’t sweat it. Walk another 10 feet and you’ll find yourself in front of another party.

With the large number of parties taking place over the course of SXSWeek, it’s not hard to find a party that you’ll just waltz right into. If there is a particular party you want to attend and there is a line, just give it a few minutes. More often than not, you will get in.

SXsocial Eligibility SXsocial is reserved for our paid badge holders. It is the official communications hub for SXSW Registrants. Registrants can message other attendees, build a bio, tag their profile with interests, and add links to places where other users can learn more about projects, interests or ways to connect.

Crew managers are exempt from this policy.

SXXpress Eligibility The SXXpress Pass allows paid badge holders to pick up a daily allotment of reserved seating tickets for films screening during the film festival and a designated number of "jump the line" tickets for specific venues during the nights of the music festival. Unfortunately, at this time volunteers are not eligible to use the SXXpress system as we continue to monitor and evaluate this feature.

Crew managers are exempt from this policy.

Registrant’s Lounge Restriction
The Registrant’s Lounge is a sponsored area. Our sponsors reserve the right to allow certain badge types into their areas. While most of our sponsors do not specify badges, some do. At this time, only paid badge holders may take advantage of the Registrant’s Lounge.

Again, there are so many events, lounges, parties and gatherings going on during SXSWeek that there are plenty of other areas to meet-up and socialize. Take advantage of all that is offered and available to you!

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