If South By Southwest were the Olympics, the music and media festival would be the 100-meter relay. The film festival portion only admits badge holders on very official lists, and the interactive events involve panel sessions featuring well-respected entrepreneurs and such in civilized conference rooms. It’s more like a nice leisurely jog through a scenic park.

On Tuesday, it turns into an all-out sprint.

You can always hear music pouring out of bars and clubs in downtown Austin between Congress and Red River streets, but for the next few days, the sidewalks outside of venues like Red 7, Central Presbyterian Church and Emo’s start to look like a cattle drive, packed full of concertgoers. For six nights, showcases at venues all over the city last until 2 a.m., and if the bands you want to see don’t happen to be all in the same lineup, you have to book it across the city to the next venue to make it in time. Don’t worry about getting lost — lines wrapping around two corners of the block will let you know you found the Foo Fighters surprise show at Stubb’s Barbecue.

The coming week will be, in a word, exhausting. So today, we took it slow, easing our way into the city and the mayhem of 6th Street.

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