SXSW Accessibility

SXSW Commitment Statement to Accessibility for People with Disabilities

All abilities are welcome at SXSW. We strive to make our conference and festivals accessible to the largest number of people possible, and are always looking at ways to remove barriers. If you have accessibility requirements, please contact accessibility@sxsw.com so we can work together to find a reasonable accommodation for your request. This page will be updated with additional accessibility information as it becomes available. Please check back often.

Here you will find our most commonly asked questions and answers for our IN-PERSON events. Questions and answers for our ONLINE events can be found at the bottom of the page.

Is your question not listed here? Please email the Accessibility Team at accessibility@sxsw.com for assistance. Relay service and 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 Accessibility Team.

FAQ for IN-PERSON Events

How do I contact the SXSW Accessibility Team?

Prior to the start of the in-person events: * Email: accessibility@sxsw.com
* Phone: 512-467-7979 (Relay services and TTY users may call the same number)

During the event, please stop by the Accessibility Desk in the Austin Convention Center or call a contact phone number which will be published here closer to the event.

How do I request accessibility accommodations?
Please click here to make ASL interpreter, session captioning, and other ADA accommodation requests. You must be a registered attendee to make these requests.

ASL Interpreter, Session Transcription & Other Accommodation Requests Deadlines:

  • SXSW EDU - February 20, 2023
  • SXSW - February 24, 2023

We will do our best to honor requests after the deadline, however services cannot be guaranteed.

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. 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 email reg@sxsw.com or you can also pick one up in Registration if you’re on site.

All registrants attending the in-person event must pick up their own credentials by showing their government-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 badgeholder’s name to be valid. Please contact reg@sxsw.com for additional information on the Companion Wristband.

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. And if you are attending additional events outside of your session, showcase, or film, please email accessibility@sxsw.com to request other ADA accommodations.

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 expos, parties, sponsor events, satellite functions, or music showcases.
  • 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 Accessibility Desk located? What are the hours?

The Accessibility Desk is located in the Austin Convention Center. The Accessibility Desk will be open each day from 9:30am to 6:30pm. Assistance after hours is available. Please check back here for a contact phone number closer to the event.

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 printed materials?

Any volunteer at a SXSW Information Desk, or the Accessibility Desk at the Austin Convention Center, can help read printed materials.

Will there be films with audio descriptions?

Yes. Please check the schedule to find which films will be part of our audio description pilot program. At the theater, please find a Theater Manager to obtain the required listening device.

Does SXSW provide American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters?

SXSW provides ASL Interpreters for all keynote sessions and select featured speakers. Additional sessions may be requested and scheduled by using this form. Additional questions regarding ASL Interpreters can be directed to accessibility@sxsw.com.

What will be closed captioned?

Closed captioning will be shown for all keynote and featured speaker sessions. Additional requests may be scheduled by using this form.

Additionally, most live film screenings will be closed captioned and will require a handheld device to view the captioning. There are a limited number of viewing devices in each theater and are available on a first come, first served basis. Please check at the venue box office, or with any SXSW staff member or volunteer on site to obtain the closed captioning viewing devices.

Will I know if a film has strobe lighting?

Films using strobe lighting will be identified on the schedule.

What if I Need Accessible Seating?

An Accessibility Designated SXSW Badge will provide attendees with a disability access to designated seating for conference sessions and film screenings. All designated SXSW accessible seating is based on capacity and provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating for an attendee with a disability and one companion will be held until five minutes before the event starts, after which unclaimed seating will be opened to the general audience. Please plan on arriving 60 minutes early for film screenings.

What mobility devices are allowed at SXSW?

Wheelchairs and 3- or 4-wheel electric scooters, walkers, canes, and crutches 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 accessibility@sxsw.com. There is no equipment rental of any kind offered by SXSW. Please make your own mobility accommodations, if required.

Where can I find information on medical and mobility device rental/repair?

Email accessibility@sxsw.com and we will help provide options within the Greater Austin Area. While visiting SXSW, please feel free to call or visit the Accessibility Desk on the first floor of the Austin Convention Center for a list of local vendors that can assist with rentals or repairs. It is advised to make rental arrangements in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of equipment.

Where can I charge my medical or mobility device during the event?

Charging outlets will be available at the Accessibility 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 cannot be responsible for unattended devices left charging.

Accessible Parking

If you have a government issued 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 some who have a disability. Please reach out to accessibility@sxsw.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.

SXSW provides a free registrant shuttle service serving the Austin Convention Center and several of our other venues. There is also an ADA accessible shuttle that travels the same route. There is an accessible shuttle stop located outside the Austin Convention Center on Trinity Street, and 3rd street. There will be a black and yellow sign with the blue accessibility logo.

If I need to get dropped off or picked up, is there a safe place for me to do this close to the Austin Convention Center?

Please check back closer to the event for information on the ADA drop off location.

Does SXSW provide session transcription for registrants?

Please check back closer to the event for more information.

Will there be a sensory / quiet room at SXSW?

Yes. Please check back closer to the event for the exact location of the sensory room.

FAQ for ONLINE Events

Most programming at SXSW Online 2022 will feature closed captioning, and some will have ASL interpretation. For questions about ADA accessibility accommodations email accessibility@sxsw.com.

Below you will find our most commonly asked questions and answers for our ONLINE events.

How do I contact the SXSW Accessibility Team?

  • Email: accessibility@sxsw.com
  • Phone: 512-467-7979 (Leave a message in the general mailbox. Relay services and TTY users may call the same number)

How do I request accessibility accommodations?

Please complete this form to make ASL interpreter, session captioning, and other ADA accommodation requests. You must be a registered attendee to make these requests.

ASL Interpreter, Session Transcription & Other Accommodation Requests Deadlines:

  • SXSW EDU - February 20, 2023
  • SXSW - February 24, 2023

We will do our best to honor requests after the deadline, however services cannot be guaranteed.

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. And if you are attending additional events outside of your session, showcase, or film, please email accessibility@sxsw.com to request other ADA accommodations.

What services are not supported by SXSW?

We are unable to troubleshoot any issues you may have with your personal electronic equipment, including any devices or software utilized for accessibility purposes.

Does SXSW provide American Sign Language (ASL) 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 this form. Additional questions regarding ASL Interpreters can be directed to accessibility@sxsw.com.

Does SXSW provide session transcription for registrants?

Yes. Transcripts will be available for online content. Please make those requests here.

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