In less than 48 hours, all trend-setting eyes will be on Austin for the 26th annual South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference & Festival. Comprised of three varying components, the series offers the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery.
Here, take a look:
Last year Austin welcomed 49,126 registrants from 76 countries and an additional 49,681 single admission tickets to film and music events, showcased 2,098 music acts across 92 stages and screened 140 feature films with 1,116 screening filmmakers in attendance, and that's not the half of it. These numbers cover the official registrant stats; countless attendees participate in Austin's largest discovery event without a SXSW badge.
This time last year we were pulling together the final touches to help sell out both showings of the award-winning SENNA movie at Austin's gorgeous Paramount Theatre and welcome Asif Kapadia to Austin.
This year we're also doing our part to keep the F1 buzz growing in Austin. On Monday, March 12 from 5:00-6:00PM I'll host the official SXSW "F1 Meet Up" at the Hilton Austin Downtown. If you're a registered attendee of the SXSW Interactive festival, join us for an hour of networking, brainstorming and idea-building as we discuss the next big thing to transform Austin later this year.
On Sunday, March 11, Kevin and I will again join Social Media Clubhouse as they broadcast live from the IBM Social Lounge in the Austin Convention Center via their Ustream channel at noon. Social Media Club is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing social media education to more than 300,000 members across 52 countries. Last year we had the amazing opportunity to discuss how social media played a role in the distribution of the SENNA movie with director Asif Kapadia. This year, Kevin and I will share our thoughts on the role of social media in the sport of Formula One, especially in the United States in anticipation of our inaugural race this November.
There are countless sources to learn more about the SXSW experience. CNN News broadcast live from the event last year and will be back again at the CNN Grill, apparently with a US presidential candidate in attendance this Friday. There are numerous SXSW-themed information boards on Pinterest. Austin-based advertising agency GSD&M has a fun online "SXSurvival" guide.
The ultimate resource, however, continues to be the official website, which is www.SXSW.com.
Here are a few quotes about SXSW that capture its essence:
Every March, thousands of young, jeans-wearing techies, filmmakers and musicians descend upon Austin, Texas, harboring dreams of getting noticed and hitting it big. They come not just for the balmy weather or the Tex-Mex food but for South by Southwest ("SXSW"), a collection of conferences and festivals that's considered one of the most influential happenings on the annual cultural calendar ...
... It's a massive crystal ball for pop culture. Whatever people are talking about at SXSW - the movies, the bands, the apps - are the things that will really hit it big in mainstream pop culture in six months to a year down the line."
CNN, March 10, 2011
What SXSW has always been about is people. It is the single best place in the creative innovation world to build relationships and get to know people. I have friends from all over the world that I've met over the last five years thta I can't wiat to see in Austin every year.
SXSW's creators never conceived of the festival as the massive, three-pronged assault by the latest in music, film and technology that it is today when they launched the original, music-only event in 1986, with 170 bands in 12 clubs to an attendance of about 700. But they've been smart enough to keep an eye to the future all along - first in the music programming, then in the bringing togeterh of music with film and computer-age "interactive" components in 1994 and, this year, by combining all three trade shows into one giant mass that recognizes that all three sides of SXSW now feed and feed off each otehr."
The Toronto Star, March 15, 2011
Twenty-five years after the South by Southwest Music festival emerged as a showcase for new bands, it has become as big and eclectic as pop culture itself with spotlights on movies and, increasingly, high-tech.
Reuters, March 22, 2011
After the festival we'll share our discoveries with you and reflect upon what we learn in anticipation for our November race, which is slated to be three times the size of this production. Until then, enjoy the show.