SXSW provides reasonable accommodations to make our event accessible for all attendees and participants. Below you will find our most commonly asked questions and their answers. Please check back often for updates and additional information closer to the event.
Don’t see your question below? Please email the Access Team at email@example.com for assistance. TTY users may call the SXSW main line at 512-467-7979, Monday–Friday, 10am to 6pm. Ask to speak to a member of the Access Team.
How do I contact the SXSW Access Team?
Prior to the start of the event:
March 8-22, 2020:
Visit the Access Desk located on the first floor of the Austin Convention Center for assistance, or an Information Desk for general questions and assistance.
What are the deadlines for making requests for accommodations?
Please use the form provided to you in the badge purchase confirmation email to make ASL interpreter, session transcription, and other accommodation requests prior to the following deadlines to guarantee fulfillment of SXSW provided accommodations. We will do our best to honor requests after the deadline, however services cannot be guaranteed.
ASL Interpreter, Session Transcription & Other Accommodations Request Deadlines:
- SXSW EDU – February 21, 2020
- SXSW – February 28, 2020
How do I request an Accessibility Designated SXSW Badge?
An Accessibility Designated SXSW Badge will provide attendees with a disability access to designated seating for sessions and film screenings, use of the SXSW Festival Shuttle accessible van, and access to the viewing platform at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake. All designated SXSW accessible seating, transportation, and platforms are based on capacity and provided on a first come, first served basis.
To request an Accessibility Designated SXSW Badge, please use the form provided to you in your badge purchase confirmation.
All registrants must pick up their own credentials by showing their state-issued photo ID at Registration in the Austin Convention Center.
Is there an option for my personal attendant to accompany me to programming?
Attendees with disabilities who require the assistance of an attendant during SXSW can request a Companion Wristband to accompany the Accessibility Designated SXSW Badge. The Companion Wristband does not grant access to any events by itself and the wristband must match the badge holders name to be valid. One Companion Wristband is provided per Accessibility Designated SXSW Badge.
I am a speaker, artist, filmmaker, or other invited guest of SXSW. How do I request accommodations for my event?
Please work with the SXSW staff member that is programming your event. You will be provided a form to request specific accommodations needed for your event. Please use the form in your badge purchase confirmation letter to request accommodations while attending SXSW.
What services are not provided by SXSW?
SXSW does not provide the following:
- Devices that are personal or individually prescribed, such as wheelchairs, prescription eyeglasses, or hearing aids.
- Services of a personal nature, such as assistance in eating, toileting or dressing, or the pushing of wheelchairs.
- Connections to soundboards.
- Guides and ASL Interpreters for trade shows, expos, parties, sponsor events, satellite functions, or music showcases (with the exception of the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake).
- Guides and ASL interpreters to accompany individual registrants.
How do I request an accessible room at my SXSW hotel?
To request an accessible room online with SXSW Housing & Travel, choose your ideal hotel from our list of available hotel rooms and follow the steps to book. When you reach the “special request field” in step 3 of the booking process (where you’ll also enter your payment information), let us know that you require an accessible room and any other additional details about your stay. We’ll pass this information along to the hotel, so they can accommodate your request.
Where is the Access Center located? What are the hours?
The Access Desk is located on the Trinity Street side of the Austin Convention Center, near Exhibit Hall 4. The Access Desk will be open one hour before the start of session programming each day, and close one hour after the last session concludes. Assistance after hours (until 2AM) is available via email and phone (737-210-0316). Please check back for exact hours closer to the event.
How do I request an accessible SXSW Festival Shuttle?
ADA shuttle transfers are available between any two established SXSW Festival Shuttle stop locations during operating hours for properly credentialed SXSW attendees. In 2020, registrants are offered an opportunity to schedule runs in advance. If not scheduled in advance, registrants needing to utilize the ADA shuttle van can call 512-522-9285. Registrants can always be directed to the Accessibility Desk for assistance as well. To schedule a SXSW Festival Shuttle run in advance, please fill out this form.
Can I bring my service animal to SXSW? Emotional support animal?
SXSW allows ADA-recognized service animals trained specifically to assist a person with disabilities at all events. Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.
Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and are not permitted at SXSW events.
I am visually impaired. How can SXSW assist me with navigating the pocket guides and schedule?
Any volunteer at a SXSW Information Desk, or the Access Desk at the Austin Convention Center, can help read printed materials.
Does SXSW provide American Sign Language Interpreters?
SXSW provides ASL Interpreters for all keynote sessions, select featured speakers, and music performances at the SXSW Outdoor Stage on Lady Bird Lake. Additional sessions may be requested and scheduled by using the form provided to you in your badge purchase confirmation email. Additional questions regarding ASL Interpreters can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does SXSW (or SXSW EDU) offer captioning services? SXSW (or SXSW EDU) is partnering with Thisten, an audio-to-text platform that transcribes speaker sessions in real time. For 2020, Keynote and Featured Speaker rooms, as well as other select sessions across SXSW, will be accessible with transcription through Thisten. Additional sessions may be requested and scheduled by using the form provided to you in your badge confirmation email.
What if I Need Accessible Seating?
An Accessibility Designated SXSW Badge will provide attendees with a disability access to designated seating for sessions and film screenings. All designated SXSW accessible seating is based on capacity and provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Seats for mobility devices and a companion will be held until five minutes before the event starts, after which unclaimed seating will be opened to the general audience.
What mobility devices are allowed at SXSW?
Wheelchairs and 3- or 4-wheel electric scooters are allowed and are reasonably accommodated. Please know that SXSW does not provide push services for attendees. For safety reasons, requests to use other power-driven mobility devices will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Please email email@example.com.
Where can I find information on medical and mobility device rental/repair?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help provide options within the Greater Austin Area. While visiting SXSW, please feel free to call or visit the Access Desk on the first floor of the Austin Convention Center for a list of local vendors that can assist with rentals.
Where can I charge my medical or mobility device during the event?
Charging outlets will be available at the Access Desk located on the first floor of the Austin Convention Center. Charging is on a first come, first served basis and devices must be secured with a lock or other means of securing the device. SXSW can not be responsible for devices left charging.
What should I know about accessibility at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake?
SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake is a large outdoor venue with natural terrain. Attendance may require covering large distances over grassy, uneven, and sometimes muddy ground.
The accessible viewing platform is on the eastern side of the venue. The accessible viewing platform is available to patrons who use mobility devices, plus one adult companion and/or minor children, as applicable. Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
The musical performances at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake will be interpreted, featuring professional and certified ASL interpreters.
Accessible portable toilet facilities are provided at all outdoor SXSW produced events where there are portable toilets.
Information is available on directional signs, or from any volunteer.
If you have a disabled hang tag or license plate, you don’t have to pay the parking meters. Private parking lots and garages may have different rules and regulations.
How accessible is Austin?
Austin, in general, is accessible. Be aware that there are some places throughout the City that are historic, or dated and could pose challenges for those using mobility devices or who are visually impaired. Please reach out to email@example.com for questions about specific establishments or areas.
What is transportation like for those with accessibility needs?
Transportation can be a challenge for everyone attending SXSW. Our advice to attendees is to utilize public transportation, rideshare, or taxi service when available. All public transportation methods have an accessible option. More information about their accessibility services during SXSW will be available closer to the event.