Next week, hundreds if not thousands will be flocking to the Texas state capital for a week long music festival called South by Southwest. I’m sure you heard of it seeing that one of your favorite publications is probably hosting a showcase down there this year. However, unlike some of those in the know – SXSW has grown into something that many a college kid who loves the tri-winning formula of weed, good music & cheap drinks takes in for Spring Break. After my initial venture out to Austin (from Houston so it wasn’t much of a drive), I felt that there’s going to be a need for education about this particular festival.

The Do’s & Don’ts of South by Southwest

DO: Bring a backpack and clothes with plenty of pockets since you will be bombarded by rappers who will try to hawk their latest mixtapes of terribly put together bars, weed raps and faux Wiz Khalifa tracks. Or fake Snoop, or fake Curren$y. You get the point.

DON’T: Attempt to fall in love at a rap concert. Or any concert. Because the woman/man you’re going to be trying to hit on is actually there for the rapper or artist that she wants to let run a train on to come back to her university and say “Hey, I caught the semen of a rapper who won’t be worth shit in two years!” If only the women knew that most rappers are broke.

DO: Treat 6th Street like it is the Mecca of all things cheap food & alcohol. Pizza will be your best friend and a $10 Long Island Iced Tea in a giant jelly jar will be your mistress for the weekend. Savor her and she will savor you. Also, the best food you will receive will be from random taco stands and other small booths around the downtown Austin area. Trust me, you will be full and ready to go on the cheapest of food.

DON’T: Go to a rap show on some snobby, holier than thou tip. Save that for the so called bloggers and journalists who are coming from all the different parts of the country who are there to get footage on their crappy Flipcams to say they were there. This also ties into the whole, “Don’t be a camera whore, just go for the shows” motif that happens to ruin a lot of concerts in this day and age.

DO: Try to not get knocked over by someone with a camera. And I mean a heavy duty professional one. These guys will bogart their way through any and all events because that camera can either lead to a shot of theirs that lands in RESPECT or on their Facebook wall. If you must be around these guys, stand shoulder to shoulder with them since they’ll probably give you the best visual spot to see your favorite artist.

DON’T: Believe that SXSW is the ticket to rap immortality. Until the 2008-09 festivals, rap went largely unnoticed in Austin, even though plenty of Texas artists call it a second home. When Kanye West held his G.O.O.D. Showcase and then B.o.B performed out in Austin before the world knew the difference between his moniker & Bobby Ray then SXSW started gaining traction with the rap world. Last year’s event only made things even bigger with more people flocking and more secret showcases being held.

DO: Have friends in Austin and friends in the industry. They’ll get you through plenty of events that aren’t listed on the official SXSW site.

DON’T: (Women) wear something that will get you trampled by many thirsty male hip-hop fans. You’re going to be walking. A lot.

DO: (Men & Women) bring plenty of slightly legal narcotics. You’re going to need them if you plan on concert hopping for five straight days.

DON’T: Cry if something happens. Unlike South Beach Miami Ho, there is no crying at a hip-hop show. Not even if your album went double nickel when you asked the world to buy it. Wait, that one was for the artist back at SXSW having accomplished nothing in a year’s time. My bad.

DO: Conduct yourself as a businessman would. If you’re an artist heading out to Austin to pass your tape and tell people about your brand, be polite, humble and respectful. If you’re a blogger out there trying to catch exclusive content (which will be unbelievably hard considering you’re rubbernecking with every other blog with the budget to even cover this thing), don’t run up to the artist with a FlipCam in hand. Introduce yourself, what you do and the goal of your site. Anybody can say, ”I run this and that and we’re all about hip-hop”. What sets you apart will get you in good favor with artists. Hell, they might send you some tracks you have to swipe from another blog just to keep up.

DON’T: Go into SXSW without a plan. If you go gung-ho, you will be shot down repeatedly and will be singing R.E.M. songs to console yourself. It could be worse; you could be Yung Berg at this point in your life.

DO: Go in with an open mind. Austin is a weird city with its own little kinks, some of which have to be seen to be believed.

DON’T: Mess with Texas. If this is your first time coming to the Lone Star State, be prepared that the cops down here are a little more disrespectful than the cops in your local area. Play it cool with them and they won’t hassle you.

DO: Hang on to your wristbands. You never know where they may get you.

If you follow the majority of the guidelines outlined in this manual then you should be perfectly fine to enjoy the free music, cheap drinks and experience that SXSW has to offer. Matter of fact, you might run into me. I’ll be the guy with “I Told You LASERS Wasn’t Worth It!” t-shirt. Kidding, or am I?