SXSW 2008 Gears Up

It’s more than six months away, but SXSW ’08 is already gearing up. Badges are on sale, and the new website is live, with a completely revamped identity.

I’m not usually one to complain about prices (I’ve paid big bucks for a badge the past two years), but I’ve gotta say I was a bit surprised at the numbers this year. The cheapest early-bird price for a music badge (the most popular option, I’m guessing) is now $500. Yikes!

This is the second big price jump in as many years, and a $155 increase since ’05 (a friend supplied me with the following numbers based on his receipts: $345 in ’05, $370 in ’06, and $425 in ’07). The Platinum badge (which I bought this past year) also jumped a stunning $125 since last year, which actually made me say “holy shit” out loud. Film badges also went up $50, but in the mid $200 range, that’s not quite as shocking, I suppose.

Obviously, big festivals like this need to raise prices as their costs grow. You can’t blame ’em for that. And I really do think that SXSW is a brilliant festival that’s been worth every penny I’ve spent on it sofar. But for my personal situation, the cost has now crossed a thin threshold where I just can’t justify buying a fancy music or platinum badge any more. So in ’08, I’ll probably go with a (much cheaper) film badge, and try to catch as much free music as I can during the day.

But you’ll still have to read my daily recaps–so don’t think you’re getting out of that.

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