music, madness & so much more
Most college towns calm down during Spring
Break as students leave for party points
beyond – but not Austin. After all, why
would anyone leave when one of the biggest
events in the music, interactive and film business happens right here?
Every March since 1987, the South By Southwest (SXSW) Conferences and Festival takes
over the Capital City. One of the world’s
largest and most respected industry conferences, SXSW showcases two weeks of the
best in new music, film, digital media and
interactive arts – plus hundreds of industry-related seminars, discussions, workshops,
interviews, meetings, and panels.
The event is made up of three distinct
industry conferences: SXSW Interactive;
SXSW Film; and SXSW Music – a unique
convergence of emerging technologies, independent films, and the best in original music.
SXSW Eco – a conference with sessions from
experts in the public, private and academic
sectors who are “committed to finding solutions for a sustainable world” – and SXSW
Edu – a conference focused on innovations in
learning – enjoyed an increase in attendance.
No matter what the industry, there’s no ques-
MUSIC AND MORE
tion that the festival has a huge impact on the
city – economic and otherwise. Last year, the
economic impact of SXSW was a booming
218 million dollars to the City of Austin.
Interactive and Film events attracted together
approximately 47,000 paid attendees and
revenues climbed yet again with a 28 million
Whether it’s film, interactive, or music, it
seems that more deals take place during
SXSW than at the blackjack tables in Vegas.
The New York Times, in a March 2006 article,
reported that SXSW is “…a hub for operating
outside the recording business...It could be
finding a European distributor for a self-re-leased album or the offer of a Midwestern
While SXSW is primarily an industry conference, there’s a distinct festival appeal to SXSW.
It’s a chance for fans to discover new favorites
and genres, hear new tunes from industry
veterans, see great documentaries and feature
films, and learn about the latest in digital and
WHAT TO EXPEXT AT SXSW
The SXSW event starts with SXSW Interactive, overlaps slightly with SXSW Film, and
is in full swing by the time the hipsters in their
skinny jeans descend into town for SXSW
Music, which wraps up the two week event.
Technology buffs and regular Joes are equally
at home during SXSW Interactive, which
emphasizes cutting-edge, creative thinking
in the wide world of websites, interactivity,
gaming, new media, social networking, and
all things technology. The convergence of
technology and pop culture is evident with
the rise of Twitter. In 2007 Twitter came
to the show with a few followers and now
thanks to the exposure gained at SXSW inter-
active, Twitter has more than 240 million
users. This is where industry trends happen
– and where the seeds germinate for what
might appear on your computer screen,
Twitter, Mashable, Tech Crunch, or Face-
book feed in the future.
ScreenBurn is another aspect of SXSW
Interactive – especially for emerging game
designers. This segment of SXSW is open to
the public and can allow those fans without a
full-on interactive pass to attend the ScreenBurn Arcade to check out the latest in
gaming technologies. Gadgets, 3D printers,
3D candy, drone stun guns, and virtual reality
headsets emerged this year at the SXSW
Interactive session along with showcases for
wireless homes and e-cigarettes.
SXSW Film has grown into a major event
on the international movie industry calendar
over the last 20-plus years, and the festival has
earned a reputation as a venue for launching
Attendees and fans screen hundreds of feature
films, documentaries, animated movies and
shorts over 10 days during the SXSW Film
Conference & Festival, with screenings taking
place at local theaters and other venues all
over the city – from the latest premieres to