Every year, South By Southwest attendees are given what the festival calls the “Big Bag,” a canvas swag-stuffed sack that can, when you start running out of places to put your dirty clothes, double as a laundry sack. This year’s bag is adorned with a David Byrne-designed PowerPoint slide (you can see a larger image here) and filled with magazines, advertising, and a few things that are actually useful; after the click-through, our guide to the items within.
WHAT TO KEEP: The two condoms, in case you’re feeling lucky; the maple throat lozenges, to recover from all that yelling you’ll be doing over the music; the hangover-prevention kit (duh); the menu for the soy-slinging restaurant Veggie Heaven, for when your body can’t take any more cheese; the Stax Records sticker, to class up your guitar/laptop case. And the most recent issue of the Austin Chronicle, if you haven’t picked it up already. (We haven’t had a chance yet to give the CDs a spin, but we note that our copy of Public Enemy’s New Whirl Odor had a $9.99 price tag on it. What intern was in charge of rounding all those up?)
WHAT TO KEEP (EBAY IT LATER EDITION): The Duke, the Brit music guide that’s presented in the form of a comic book. We’ll admit it: We went more than a little UKrazy when we saw Jessica Penfold’s two-page spread illustrating the Young Marble Giants’ “Brand-New-Life.”
WHAT TO DITCH: All the flyers (except the one with the map to Magnolia); all the glossy cards (unless you’re looking for some screenprinting assistance); one of the two Post-It pads.
WHAT NOT TO BUY AT THE AIRPORT EN ROUTE TO AUSTIN: If you’re looking for some plane reading, may we suggest picking up The Economist or Child? The bag has more than 10 music-related magazines in it–including Blender, Paste, Filter Mini, and less glossy magazines like Professional Songwriter and Music Connection, both of which tout Iggy Pop interviews on their cover.
WHAT MAY COME IN HANDY LATER: If you’re worried that you might feel vengeful at some point during the fest, hang on to the Rykodisc-supplied voodoo doll. Unfortunately, only one pin was packaged with it.
WHAT TO SCAM FROM THE INTERACTIVE BAG: The foodie site Chow.com put together a guide to food around Austin that’s both exhaustive and well-written; unfortunately, copies of it weren’t packaged in the music bag. (The Chronicle‘s guide to living in Austin on $10/day almost measures up to it, but not quite.) It’s worth sniffing around people who are splitting town on Wednesday, just to see if they’re planning on keeping that souvenir.