New bands, old friends and the best ­barbecue on earth: How artists and execs navigate ­Austin's music melee from March 8 to 17.

Getting There: "When Dashboard Confessional last played SXSW, we'd just put out our biggest record and came in on a tour bus. This year, I'm making the national debut of my new band Twin Falls, and we're driving up in a van, humping our own gear, playing as many places that will have us." -Chris Carrabba

Stay Here: "The Driskill [below] is where the older execs stay. They hang out at the bar and talk about the great old days of the music industry." -PJ Bloom, music supervisor ("Glee," "The New Normal")

"The new luxury hotel is the W, right next door to the Moody Theater and Austin City Limits." -Roland Swenson, president/co-founder, SXSW

"The downtown Hilton's location is unparalleled: across from the Convention Center, just one block from Sixth Street and Red River. They also have a nice, quiet executive floor to take meetings." -Tom Windish, Windish Agency

Biz Hot Spots: "The annual BMI Brunch at the Four Seasons is where a lot of business gets done. It's a real melting pot, making it easy to network with your international constituents." -Brandon Haas, head of publishing, Glassnote Entertainment/Four Song Night

"My business usually happens at a club, when I'm leaning against the bar." -PJ Bloom

Booze Clues: "I throw a party at Maria's Mexican Restaurant every Saturday during SXSW. Try the top-shelf margarita." -Alejandro Escovedo, Austin music legend

"SXSW marks the time of the year when I drink my fill of Shiner Bock beer. By the end, I never want to see another bottle." -PJ Bloom

Best Barbecue: "When I get to Austin, I'm first in line for brisket at Ironworks." -Geoff Cottrill, chief marketing officer, Converse

"I hit Ruby's BBQ quite a bit." -Britt Daniel, Divine Fits/Spoon

"People stand in line for Sam's BBQ." -Roland Swenson

"Salt Lick is a BBQ mecca 20 minutes outside the city--the best I've ever had." -Wes Miles, Ra Ra Riot

Eat To The Beat: "Uchi is this small, hip Japanese place where the power elite go-all the big agents and managers. And outside the Convention Center, they have a cart selling something called 'the Mighty Cone'-amazing fried chicken, stuffed in a paper cone." -Tom Windish

"Maria's Taco Xpress has the best breakfast tacos." -Britt Daniel

"Casino el Camino, where they blast really loud punk and grill the best burger in the world." -PJ Bloom

"We always end up at the hotdog truck near the old Emo's." -Nathan Williams, Wavves

Live Action: "I have a thing for the Broken Spoke--a great honky-tonk with a huge country dancefloor." -Britt Daniel

"Antone's is an Austin institution. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Gary Clark Jr. got their start there." -Roland Swenson

"Cedar Street Courtyard is pretty special. Gotye played an exciting showcase there last year." -PJ Bloom

"Central Presbyterian Church is such a unique setting. When Daughter played there last year, you could hear a pin drop. It was a career-changer." -Daniel Glass, founder, Glassnote Records

"French Legation Society is a peaceful oasis for quality bands." -Tom Windish

"Fader Fort is fun: I met Bun B and Solange there." -Nathan Williams

"Funky East Side places like Scoot Inn and White Horse carry the spirit of old Austin. You can smell centuries of music, beer and sweat." -Alejandro Escovedo

Essential Austin: "Waterloo Records always has cool stuff, and the atmosphere's great." -Ritzy Bryan, The Joy Formidable

"I get tattoos pretty much every time I go. True Blue Tattoo is conveniently right next to the old Emo's, and the artists are great." -Chris Carrabba

"One of my favorite things to do is visit the Flatstock poster show at the Austin Convention Center. I'll spend a few hundred bucks on hand-printed band posters." -Geoff Cottrill

Chill Out: "Go to Barton Springs to get away from SXSW madness. It's fed by a spring, and the water is 68 degrees year-round." -Roland Swenson

"Our Radio Day Stage at the Convention Center provides a nice contrast to nightclubs. You can enjoy Devendra Banhart and Jake Bugg with pristine sound, in air-conditioned comfort. We'll also have Bloody Marys." -Jason Bentley, PD, KCRW Los Angeles

Don't Miss: "This year, it's Chvrches. I'm an '80s synth-pop ex-goth, and that's exactly what they do. Also, Muse is rumored to be playing a weekend Stubb's showcase." -PJ Bloom

"I'm excited to see Richard Thompson in an intimate setting." -Ritzy Bryan

"Green Day will perform and screen two documentaries, and Dave Grohl is the keynote speaker. We're excited to have Clive Davis speaking at SXSW for the first time." -Roland Swenson

"My band True Believers was a nice chapter in Austin music history. We reunited last year at a memorial for [late SXSW creative director] Brent Grulke. We had a great time, so we decided to do it again." -Alejandro Escovedo -Matt Diehl