For the full NXNE experience - the live music, the conference, the film slate and highly anticipated keynote address by ex-Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham - the all-inclusive festival pass is the way to go. But if three nights jammed tight with some of the best new bands you've never heard before is more than enough action, the NXNE wristband is your best option. You can pay the cover and park yourself at one of the 24 participating venues for the night, but the best way to do NXNE is as a club crawl, and that's the value of the wristband.
Here are a few tips to improve the quality of your NXNE adventure.
1. CHECK THE NXNE WEB SITE
Go to the NOW NXNE minisite for full band listings and up-to-the-minute scheduling information.
2. BE ON TIME
There's no such thing as being fashionably late at NXNE. The sets start on the hour and run 40 minutes, like clockwork.
3. PLAN YOUR ROUTE
Once you've checked off the bands you intend to see for an evening, take time to consider the relative locations of the clubs you'll be hitting to make sure you'll have enough time to get where you need to go.
4. BE ADVENTUROUS
There are always amazing artists at NXNE that you've never heard of before. Discovering them sometimes means passing up a chance to see someone you know is great. It's worth the risk.
5. HAVE A BACKUP BAND PLAN
If you think the first two songs by the band you're watching suck, cut your losses and split. Just make sure you have a backup band checked off playing near enough to get to quick.
6. YOU CAN'T SEE EVERYTHING
With 400-plus artists playing over three days, you can't catch everyone. Worrying too much about what you're missing can ruin the whole experience.
7. the best sound is up FRONT
Unless you like listening to jaded A&R types tell each other how unimpressed they are with the bands they're secretly eager to sign, find a spot close to the stage.
8. travel light
You'll be moving from club to club in a hurry, so don't encumber yourself. Besides, in a packed bar your honkin' huge knapsack can do damage to other clubgoers.
9. Talk to the scribblers
NXNE attracts tons of music writers from all over. Ask people hunched over notepads for tips. You'll at least get a tip or two on artists from their hometown.
10. IF YOU LIKE AN ARTIST, TELL him or her ABOUT IT
Most artists who come to music festivals are interested in meeting people and making new contacts. So take a minute to tell a band member you just saw put on an amazing performance what you liked about it. Or better still, buy a copy of their CD. They could probably use the gas money.