Due to the huge number of bands and venues involved in NXNE, you’ll likely find yourself running all over town in the 20 minutes between sets. You don’t want to waste time lining up outside while your new favourite band rocks the crowd inside, and paying a cover at every venue can add up quickly, so you should follow the lead of festival veterans and spring for a pass or wristband.
Aside from the ubiquitous three-day pass ($29), which guarantees you no cover at all NXNE gigs and films and also allows you to bypass the regular queue, you can also take it easy with the one-day NXNE festival wristband ($19, on sale at all clubs), which is perfect if you’re only up for one band-crazed no-cover-charge night.
The NXNE Priority Pass ($149) gets you in ahead of the crowds and gives you priority access to all showcases and films as well as the entire conference, celebrity interviews, panels and networking. If you really want a sure thing, though, you might want to look into the NXNE VIP Super Pass ($249), which, in addition to all the Priority Pass goodies, guarantees you front-of-the-line access by pre-booking your top 10 shows for the weekend. Beats the hell out of pleading with bouncers who couldn’t give a shit how much you love the band.
Of course, band performances are only a fraction of what’s slated over four solid days of organized madness, partying and drinking. (Selected bars are slinging booze till 4 am, so don’t count on getting up before noon the next day.)
Check out the NXNE Film Festival (see page 86) and the conference (see page 90), which is nothing like the image you might have in your head of dull panels and speakers lulling you to sleep with a whole lot of nothing to say. But just in case beer is more important than learning, keep in mind that the conference sessions are licensed.