South by Southwest is a serious event; people from all walks come to Austin, TX for a long weekend of panels, politics, and persuasion. After all that hard work, everyone wants to unwind and get loose.
Here are 15 parties that you can't miss if you're in Austin this weekend:
15. Mozilla SxSW Happy Hour - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=310283178032
Whenever Mozilla throws a party, it's usually a blast. They have good food, free drinks, and lots of schwag.
14. theMIX agency presents (#thePARTY) - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=344022756281
Finding musical performances during the "interactive" part of the conference is actually pretty easy. Bands want to come to Austin a little early and warm up their chops. Performing at this party is Holy Ghost, Classixx, and Sososoon. Over 1,100 RSVPs on Facebook already, so you better RSVP now.
13. The Barbarian Group and StumbleUpon present Forbidden Frontier - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=368573730983
The Mohawk is an awesome venue in Austin. There are different levels and stages and it's the definition of a dive bar. My kind of party.
12. Girls in Tech SXSWi Happy Hour - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=322011052761
Girls in Tech is a great organization to be a part of. Their happy hour is also located at one of the best Brazilian steak houses in Austin: Fugo de Chao.
11. Firefox Add-ons "All-You-Can-MiniGolf" Austin Meetup - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=335878995899
I don't think you can ever go wrong with mini-golf. Peter Pan Mini-Golf has 100 confirmed guests and counting. They cap it at 150, so sign up now!
10. Windows Phone Techset Party - http://sxswtechset.eventbrite.com/
Reading the description of this one, you would think Lady Gaga was performing. Techset has been known to throw great parties, so stop by here if you want a great time, and a peek at Microsoft's latest mobile creation.
9. The SXSW Street Food Scavenger Hunt - http://www.foodspotting.com/guides/51
I'm obsessed with Foodspotting. These guys have been working hard to create a scavenger hunt across Austin.
How could you pass up the opportunity to eat Pancake Tacos or a Korean Hot Dog?
8. Gary Vaynerchuk's Secret Wine Party
Some of the best parties at SxSW are the ones that are planned at the last minute. In 2009, wine wizard Gary Vaynerchuk threw a last minute wine party (pics).
It was fun because it was spontaneous and unexpected. Gary is planning to do another one this year:
7. gdgt live in Austin - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=337245508795
Ryan Block's gdgt is having a huge party and meetup at the Austin Music Hall. The list of companies attending is insane, it could be it's own conference: AMD, AnyClip, Aviary, Boxee, Buffalo Technology, Chinon, Dell, DivX, FLO TV, HTC, Incipio, Logitech, Mimoco, Pandora, Popoplug, Roku, Sling, Sonos, Sony, WD, and Windows Phone.
6. Gowalla Tiki Room - http://gowalla.com/sxsw
Some say that Gowalla has the advantage over any location service because they have the home field advantage (Alamofire is based in Austin).
The tiki-themed party sounds like a blast, with a music performance by Diplo.
To get VIP access to this party, follow these steps:
During SXSW we'll be scattering hundreds of Tiki Room Digital VIP Passes around downtown Austin. The only way to get yours is to check in with Gowalla at other Austin venues and SXSW events. The Tiki Room VIP Passes on Gowalla will be the only guaranteed way to get into the Tiki Room. If you're not part of the community already, you should join Gowalla.
So far, this event has more RSVPs on Facebook than any other event (2,634 at the time of this writing).
5. Happy Cogaoke - http://ok.cogaoke.com/
A bunch of geeks signing karaoke.
Especially with contestants like Naylor Swift and Soul Sisters, you don't want to miss this. Prizes include a bunch of Adobe software and a Gowalla branded iPod.
4. Skip Intro » Hosted by Foursquare, Brizzly, and Katalyst - http://plancast.com/a/1j70
This one is meant to be huge.
Foursquare, Brizzly and Katalyst (Ashton Kutcher's production company) are throwing down Monday night at Cedar Street Courtyard.
Something else worth noting is that Foursquare will be outside the Austin Convention Center handing out shirts and real-life badges. There will be an actual game of Four square going on too! There are 16 new badges you can collect in Austin this weekend.
3. Ning RVIP Karaoke Lounge - http://ningrvip.com/
Full disclosure: I'm a web developer for Ning. The RVIP Karaoke Lounge will transport SxSW attendees from party to party, while letting them sing karaoke, drink some beers, and flaunt their interests and passions on Ning's social platform.
A crew of Ning employees have been planning this for months now. We have a Foursquare badge and I'm working on getting a special Gowalla item for the RV. If you are in town, definitely check this one out.
2. Geobash at the Pure Volume House - http://geoba.sh
Location is the hot topic this year, no matter how much you are sick of hearing about it. The Pure Volume House has a lot of cool events you should check out, but this one should be monsterous.
1. Bigg Digg Shindigg with The Walkmen - http://bit.ly/94bajY
Last year, the folks at Digg and Revision3 put on a huge production of Diggnation with Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht. I have never seen so many people gathered in one place to see a "web show".
This year, The Walkmen are performing, notably one of the biggest music acts to play during interactive week. Bigg Digg Shindigg is also at one of my favorite venues: Stubb's BBQ.
Even if you aren't a fan of Diggnation, you should still check out the Shindigg. There is incredible energy, and it feels like a concert in a dude ranch with beer.
Some other notable parties this year:
MediaTemple party with We Are Scientists and more - http://mediatemple.net/sxsw/
The Official SxSW Interactive Kick-Off, Sponsored by UStream - http://plancast.com/a/von
Chaotic Moon Studios Launch Party - http://plancast.com/a/1f51
Groupon Recovery Breakfast - http://grouponsxsw2010.eventbrite.com/
Buzz Out Loud Meetup - http://buzzoutloudsxsw.eventbrite.com/
20x2 - http://my.sxsw.com/events/event/5288
SXSW Digital Speakeasy with AnyClip, blip.tv & Pepsico - http://digitalspeakeasy.eventbrite.com/
Quora Meetup - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=336364702196
#BATHH Big Ass Twitter Happy Hour - http://tweetvite.com/event/bathh
State of Now: 140 Conference SXSW Cocktail Party - http://140sxsw.eventbrite.com/
Ticketfly Happy Hour - http://www.ticketfly.com/blog/rsvp/
PBS & Friends at SxSW - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=324728630747&index=1
Plancast has been the best place for me to find parties. Also, I have been updating the @sxswparty account on Twitter non-stop. You should follow it to see where all the secret parties are.