SXSW 2012 rain: expect it through the entire festival

The sound and sight of pounding rain in Austin, Texas, has been rare since I moved to Austin in late 2010. Most Austinites I know welcome gray skies with open arms — relishing in the greener landscape that the rain brings. But a sizable chunk of Austin’s economy revolves around SXSW, an annual interactive, film, and music event that seems to grow exponentially each year. With the growth of the festival comes the expansion of festival events. Film screenings, tech panels, concerts, and other related activities spill onto the streets, overtake parking lots, and set up shop in other, seemingly unlikely, outdoor areas. A few days ago, event planners began rushing to prepare for SXSW 2012 rain. All over Austin, SXSW producers are currently racing to adequately care for expensive gear crucial to upcoming events related to each of the three industries represented at the festival. Meanwhile, attendees are already pinching through the streets with umbrellas in hand and galoshes on foot. This will be the scenery for the hundreds of thousands of people traveling from across the globe to Austin for SXSW. If I may offer a silver lining to travelers: while in Austin, feel free to refill your water glass at bars, coffee shops, and restaurants — the “every ounce counts” signs will invariably bare less meaning by the end of the festival.