So we’ve been hearing the buzz about this year’s South By Southwest (SXSW) through one of our office neighbors who’s been organizing a Startup Bus (http://startupbus.com/americas/) crew from Baton Rouge, but now its here. SXSW is here.
Stop the press! What am I doing here !!!!???? (*cue soundtrack to the Incredible HULk music as I turn five shades of green and start ripping through my clothes....)
Ok fine, maybe I didn't do that (we have glass walls after all) but instead I thought I’d use this article to research more about this uber festival of music, film, and technology, to nurse my saltiness over not going. Look, its either that or ice cream...
So SXSW was started in 1986 by staffers at The Austin Chronicle, Austin’s alternative weekly magazine, and began to almost immediate success. Organizers had hoped for 150 to attend the first festival but instead over 700 people showed up, turning it into a national event virtually overnight. The rest, as they say, is preverbal history..... to the tune of over 286 thousand attendees and over $167M in revenue in 2011, pumped right back into Austin businesses. How about them apples?
As Austin grew, the festival also expanded to include film and interactive media in 1994, was separated into film and multimedia in 1995, before being renaming to “SXSW Interactive” in 1999 to try and encompass the event’s diverse and ever-growing audience.
The events at SXSW seamlessly converges the worlds of Music, Film, and Interactive media over a jam-packed nine days, during which it becomes a vortex for creatives to learn from peers, current leaders, and respected legends alike. “SXSW is a massive crystal ball for pop culture...” says CNN, “..whatever people are talking about at SXSW, are the things that will really hit it big in mainstream pop culture six months to a year down the line.”
In recent years, SXSW Interactive, the tech portion of the festival, has steadily grown in recognition as the launchpad of launchpads where tech startups such as Twitter and Foursquare got their start. The fest benefited enormously from being at the forefront when social media and mobile apps were just beginning to gain buzz in the media. And the numbers don’t lie- as these tools have become further embed into our daily lives- especially relevant at a festival where exploring the city is as much a part of the experience, last year’s attendance records showed Interactive out paced Music by over 3000 attendees.
This year’s SXSW Interactive Festival kicking off last friday and will wrap up tomorrow, March 13th, so catch it while you still can. The showcase has been housed in Startup Village, a physical space where the worlds of startups, entrepreneurs, and investors can converge and talk shop. If you are out there, or have been out there, kudos to you, maybe you caught our Startup Bus crew in action. As for the countless other meetups, panel discussions, and parties to try and catch, remember, there’s also two other festivals happening with Music and Film! To find out more, check out the full event schedule- http://sxsw.com/interactive
So we’re here at the 3Coasts office, staying plugged to SXSW Interactive with whatever is free and live-streamed, sigh, dreaming about next year........