South by Southwest

South by Southwest (abbreviated as SXSW and colloquially referred to as South By) is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place in mid-March in Austin, Texas, United States. It began in 1987, and has continued to grow in both scope and size every year. In 2017, the conference lasted for 10 days with SXSW interactive lasting for five days, music for seven days and film running concurrently for nine days.

SXSW is run by the company SXSW, LLC which organizes conferences, trade shows, festivals, and other events.[1] In addition to the three main South by Southwest festivals, the company runs other conferences: SXSW EDU, a conference on educational innovation, held in Austin,[2] and (beginning in 2017) the me Convention, held in Frankfurt, Germany, in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz.[3][4] Former conferences run by the SXSW organization were SXSW Eco, an environmental conference held in Austin from 2011 to 2016;[5] and one in Las Vegas: SXSW V2V, a conference focused on innovative startups[6] which ran from 2013 to 2015.

South by Southwest
SxSW logo
The official logo for SXSW, 2017
GenreConference and festival
DatesMarch (dates vary but generally coinciding with University of Texas at Austin spring break and also usually includes St. Patrick's Day)
FrequencyAnnual
Location(s)Austin, Texas, U.S.
Years active32
Inaugurated1987
FoundersRoland Swenson, Louis Jay Meyers, Louis Black, Nick Barbaro
Next eventMarch 8–17, 2019
AttendanceSXSW Music: 28,119
SXSW Interactive: 30,621
SXSW Film: 16,297
SXSW EDU: 4,260
Other Exhibits/Parties: 152,000
Organized bySXSW, LLC
Websitesxsw.com

Divisions

Sixth Street SXSW 2013-025426539592444897
A view of 6th Street in downtown Austin, Texas, during SXSW 2013

Music

SXSW Music is the largest music festival of its kind in the world, with more than 2,000 acts as of 2014.[7] SXSW Music offers artist-provided music and video samples of featured artists at each festival via their official YouTube channel.[8][9]

The music event has grown from 700 registrants in 1987 to over 28,000 registrants. SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive events have grown every year,bringing over 32,000 registrants to Austin in March 2013.[10]

Bands must cover their own expenses for travel and lodging at the event. All performers are offered a cash payment or a wristband package that allows access to all music events.[11]

Film

SXSW Film Conference spans five days of conference panels and sessions, and welcomes filmmakers of all levels. Programming consists of keynote speakers, panels, workshops, mentor sessions and more, with expert filmmakers and industry leaders.[12]

In 2015, the SXSW Film Conference programmed over 250 sessions with 735 speakers. Past speakers include Jon Favreau, Mark Duplass, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Gosling, Nicolas Cage, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Tilda Swinton, Amy Schumer, Sally Field, Joss Whedon, Christine Vachon, RZA, Matthew McConaughey, Danny Boyle, Seth MacFarlane, Catherine Hardwicke, Richard Linklater, David Gordon Green, Harmony Korine, Henry Rollins, Sarah Green and Robert Rodriguez.[13] Although the film festival often highlights independently produced films and emerging directing talent with unique visions,[14] the festival has long served studios as a starting point for their comedies, using enthusiastic fans as a barometer of how they might play in wide release.[15]

The SXSW Film Festival runs nine days, simultaneously with the SXSW Film Conference, and celebrates raw innovation and emerging talent both behind and in front of the camera.[16] Festival programming categories include: Special Events, Headliners, Narrative Spotlight, Documentary Spotlight, Narrative Competition, Documentary Competition, Visions, Midnighters, 24 Beats Per Second, SXGlobal, Episodic, Festival Favorites and Short Film Programs. The SXSW Film Awards, which occur on the last day of the Film Conference, honor films selected by the Feature and Short Film Juries.

In 2015, the SXSW Film Festival programmed 150 feature films and 106 short films, selected from 7,361 submissions.[17] Past notable world premieres include Furious 7, Neighbors, Chef, 21 Jump Street, The Cabin in the Woods, Bridesmaids and Insidious, and the TV series Girls, Silicon Valley and Penny Dreadful.[18]

Interactive

SXSW Interactive is focused on emerging technology.[19] The festival includes a trade show, speakers, parties, and a startup accelerator.[20]

History

Inauguration – 1980s

In July 1986, the organizers of the New York City music festival New Music Seminar contacted Roland Swenson, a staffer at the alternative weekly The Austin Chronicle, about organizing an extension of that festival into Austin after having announced that they were going to hold a "New Music Seminar Southwest".[21] The plans did not materialize, so Swenson decided to instead co-organize a local music festival, with the help of two other people at the Chronicle: editor and co-founder Louis Black, and publisher Nick Barbaro. Louis Meyers, a booking agent and musician, was also brought on board.[22] Black came up with the name, as a play on the name of the Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest. While Southwest by south is an actual point on a compass, South by southwest is not.

The event was first held in March 1987. The organizers considered it a regional event and expected around 150 attendees to show up, but over 700 came, and according to Black "it was national almost immediately."[23] Meyers left Austin and the festival in the early 1990s, but Black, Barbaro and Swenson remained the festival's key organizers as of 2010.[23]

1990s

Singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked was the keynote speaker at the 1992 South by Southwest. She caused controversy by delivering a speech, written by her then-husband Bart Bull, criticizing white musicians for stealing music from African American artists; and then later during the same conference when she tried to kick the band Two Nice Girls off of a benefit concert, a move that some called anti-gay, due to Two Nice Girls' overtly lesbian image.[24]

In 1993, SXSW moved into the Austin Convention Center, where it is still held.[25]

In 1994, SXSW added a component for film and other media, named the "SXSW Film and Multimedia Conference".[23] Johnny Cash was the keynote speaker.[26]

That year, the three brothers of the band Hanson were brought to SXSW by their father in order to perform impromptu auditions for music executives, in the hopes of getting industry attention. Among the people who heard them was A&R executive Christopher Sabec, who became their manager, and would soon afterward get them signed to Mercury Records.[27]

In 1995, the SXSW Film and Multimedia Conference was split into two separate events, "SXSW Film" and "SXSW Multimedia".[23] In 1999, SXSW Multimedia was renamed "SXSW Interactive".[23]

2000s

Singer-songwriter John Mayer's performance at the 2000 SXSW Music festival led to his signing soon thereafter with Aware Records, his first record label.

A performance by the band The Polyphonic Spree at the 2002 SXSW Music festival helped bring them to national attention before they had signed with a major label.[28]

At the 2002 SXSW Film Festival, the film Manito won the jury award for narrative feature, while the documentary Spellbound won the jury award for documentary feature.

British singer James Blunt was discovered by producer Linda Perry while playing a small show at the 2004 SXSW Music festival, and was signed to Perry's Custard Records soon thereafter,[29] where he would go on to release all three of his subsequent albums.

The 2005 SXSW Film is considered by some to be the origin of the mumblecore film genre. A number of films now classified as mumblecore, including The Puffy Chair, Kissing on the Mouth, Four Eyed Monsters and Mutual Appreciation, were screened, and Eric Masunaga, a musician and the sound editor on Mutual Appreciation, is credited with coining the term "mumblecore" at a bar while at the festival.[30]

The film Hooligans won both the Feature Film Jury Award and the Feature Film Audience Award for narrative feature, while The Puffy Chair won the Feature Film Audience Award in the "Emerging Visions" category. The documentary film Cowboy del Amor won the SXSW Competition Award and the Audience Award.

A secret concert at the 2006 SXSW Music by the band The Flaming Lips was called one of the "Top 10 Music-Festival Moments" of all time by Time magazine in 2010.[31]

The 2006 SXSW Interactive featured a keynote panel of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.[32]

That year, "Screenburn at SXSW", a component for video games, was added to SXSW Interactive.[23]

The 2007 music festival took place from March 14 to 18, and more than 1,400 acts performed.

Two of the top film premieres that year were Elvis and Anabelle and Skills Like This.

The social media platform Twitter notably gained a good deal of early traction and buzz at the 2007 SXSW Interactive,[33] though it did not launch at SXSW 2007 as is sometimes reported.[23]

The 2008 SXSW Interactive got media attention due to a keynote interview of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by technology journalist Sarah Lacy that was considered by some observers to be a "train wreck" due to an audience perception that Lacy was asking uninteresting questions, as well as mocking or terse answers in response from Zuckerberg.[34]

In 2008, a comedy element was added to SXSW; it was held for one night. (By 2012, comedy performances occurred on all nights of the festival.)[35]

The 2009 festival was held March 13–22. The Interactive section of SXSW in particular drew larger attendance levels; the influx strained the networks of providers such as AT&T (primarily due to heavy iPhone usage).[36] Also new was the founding of an international organization for those not attending, dubbed NotAtSXSW. Coordinating through Twitter and other online tools, notatsxsw events were held in London, New York, Wisconsin, Portland, Oregon and Miami.[37]

Foursquare-logo
The mobile app, Foursquare, was launched at SXSW 2009.

The 2009 SXSW Interactive saw the launch of the Foursquare application, which was called "the breakout mobile app" of the event by the Mashable blog.[38]

The 2009 SXSW Film screened 250 films, including 54 world premieres. The event was notable for having the United States premiere of the film The Hurt Locker, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2010.[23] The winners of the feature jury awards were, for documentary feature, 45365, and for narrative feature, Made in China.[39]

2010

The 2010 music festival, which took place March 12–21, was dedicated to Alex Chilton, who died shortly before he was to perform with Big Star.[40] A tribute concert was performed in his honor on March 20, 2010.[41]

At the 2010 festival, nearly 2,000 bands were officially scheduled to perform,[42] and festival reps estimated that over 13,000 industry representatives attended.[43] Though traditionally the Austin Music Awards kick off the festival, that year organizers slated it as the closing act. Local musician Bob Schneider earned 6 awards, including Song of the Year, Singer of the Year, and Band of the Year (with Lonelyland.)[42] The 2010 festival was also notable for appearances by the surviving members of the band Moby Grape.[44]

At the 2010 Film festival, Magnolia Pictures bought the film rights to the science-fiction film Monsters on the night it screened, in what was the first-ever "overnight acquisition" at SXSW. Journalist Meredith Melnick of Time magazine called this purchase a turning point for SXSW, leading to a greater interest among film studio executives in attending the festival in person.[45] That year also saw the premiere of the indie favorite Tiny Furniture, which won the award for Best Narrative Feature.

The 2010 Interactive festival had an estimated 12–13,000 paying attendees, which represented a 40% jump over the previous year.[46] This was the first year in which the interactive festival's attendance surpassed the music festival's.[46] The keynote presentation was an interview of then-Twitter CEO Evan Williams by Umair Haque, an interview that many in the audience found disappointingly superficial.[47] Also during the interactive festival, the first-ever (and so far only) "Hive Awards For the Unsung Heroes of the Internet" were held.

2011

The 2011 SXSW festival ran from March 11 to 20.

The keynote presenter for SXSW Interactive was Seth Priebatsch, founder and CEO of the mobile-gaming platform SCVNGR.[48] The 2011 Interactive festival was by far the largest it had ever been, with an estimated 20,000 attendees.[49]

Also in attendance at SXSW was boxing legend Mike Tyson, promoting his new iPhone game with RockLive at the Screenburn Arcade.[50]

At least two films screened at the SXSW Film festival gained distribution deals: the documentary Undefeated (which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature) and the thriller The Divide. As a result, film critic Christopher Kelly wrote that in 2011, SXSW Film went from being "a well-regarded but fundamentally regional event" to having "joined the big leagues of film festivals around the world."[51] That festival was also notable for having the premiere of the film Bridesmaids.[52]

The March 15th screening of the Foo Fighters documentary Back and Forth was followed by a surprise live performance by the band itself, with a setlist that included the entirety of the then-upcoming album Wasting Light.[53]

2012

SXSW 2012 ran from March 9 to 18.

The standout technology of the 2012 SXSW Interactive was generally stated to be "social discovery" mobile apps, which let users locate other nearby users. Social discovery apps that had a presence at SXSW included Highlight, Glancee, Sonar and Kismet.[54][55]

SXSW Film saw the premiere of two major Hollywood films: The Cabin in the Woods[56] and 21 Jump Street.[52] Two films obtained distribution deals: Girls Against Boys and The Tall Man.[57] Another film, Gimme the Loot, which won the SXSW Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize, got a distribution deal a week after the festival.[58] Bay of All Saints received the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary.[59]

2012 was also the first year the music portion was expanded to Tuesday. The musical festival included rappers such as Talib Kweli and Lil' Wayne, along with surprise appearances by Big Sean and Kanye West; indie bands that appeared included MENEW and The Shins. Bruce Springsteen was the keynote speaker for the music festival.[60]

2013

SXSW 2013 ran from March 8 to 17.

The big-budget films The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Evil Dead premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film, and Spring Breakers had its U.S. premiere.[61] The film Short Term 12 won the grand jury award for Best Narrative Feature. The films Cheap Thrills and Haunter received distribution deals,[62] and Drinking Buddies obtained a distribution deal several days later.[63]

The 2013 SXSW Interactive saw another huge jump in registration, now with 30,621 paying attendees.[64] This was over three times the number that had attended in 2008 (9,000), just five years previously.[65] The keynote talk for the 2013 SXSW Interactive was given by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.[66] The "Screenburn" and "Arcade" components were renamed to "SXSW Gaming" and "SXSW Gaming Expo", respectively.[67] The Interactive conference had an increased corporate presence, featuring major participation by Samsung, 3M, Target, American Airlines, Adobe Systems and AT&T, among others.[66][68] According to CNN, CBS and CNET called Grumpy Cat the undisputed "biggest star" of SXSW Interactive over Musk, Al Gore and Neil Gaiman.[69][70][71]

2014

SXSW 2014 ran from March 7 to 16.

SXSW Film had premieres of the big-budget films Neighbors, Veronica Mars and Chef, and Cesar Chavez had its North American premiere.[72][73] A clip for the big-budget film Godzilla was also screened. The films Space Station 76[74] and Exists got distribution deals at the festival,[73] while Fort Tilden (which won the Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize) and Open Windows got distribution deals shortly afterward.[75][76]

A new section, "Episodic" (on television programming) was introduced to SXSW Film. Television series that previewed at the festival include Silicon Valley and From Dusk till Dawn: The Series. The talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! was taped for a week at the festival; it joined the talk show Watch What Happens: Live, which began taping at SXSW in 2013.[77]

SXSW Interactive featured a keynote speech by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, via streaming video, about privacy rights. The festival also featured a talk from another famous leaker, Julian Assange, also speaking remotely.[78] Besides privacy issues, another major focus of the Interactive festival was wearable technology, including devices for augmented reality, activity tracking, identity authentication, charging cell phones and others.[79] Computerworld magazine called the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality gaming headset, the "sleeper hit" of the festival, although it was displayed not at the Interactive but at the Film portion, as part of a Game of Thrones exhibit.[80] The SXSW Gaming section introduced its SXSW Gaming Awards to recognize achievement in video and other types of gaming, which has continued through future SXSW festivals.

The keynote presenter and headline act this year for Stubb's was Lady Gaga.[81][82] To promote her upcoming album, Food, Kelis cooked and served barbecue-style food from a food truck to festival attendees.[83][84]

On March 13, 2014, a drunk driver, Rashad Charjuan Owens, drove his car into a crowd of festival attendees while trying to evade a traffic stop.[85] Two people were killed immediately, another two died later from their injuries and another 21 were injured but survived.[86] Owens was convicted of capital murder charges after a November 2015 trial in which eyewitnesses testified that about "a chaotic and harrowing scene" on the night, as hundreds of people ran and screamed as the car sped through crowds of people.[87][88] Owens was given an automatic sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.[89]

On March 15, 2014, rapper Tyler, the Creator was arrested on misdemeanor charges of "inciting to riot" after yelling to fans to push their way past security guards at a sold-out show the previous day.[90] In February 2016, the riot charges were dropped against Tyler, The Creator pursuant to a plea agreement with prosecutors (under which the rapper pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of disorderly conduct and paid a $100 fine, with the case to be dismissed if he stays out of trouble for three months).[91]

2015

Crayon Pop filming at SXSW Austin Texas 2015 --2
Crayon Pop filming "Can't Stop Crayon Pop" for Funny or Die before K-Pop Night Out at SXSW

SXSW 2015 took place from March 13 to 22.

SXSW Film screened 145 feature films, an all-time high for the festival.[92] The big-budget films Furious 7 (which was a last-minute addition to the lineup),[93] Get Hard, Spy, a rough cut of Trainwreck, Moonwalkers and The Final Girls[94] had their world premieres, as did the documentaries Danny Says,[95] Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine and Brand: A Second Coming.[96] Ex Machina had its North American premiere. 6 Years, Manson Family Vacation and Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine all got distribution deals at the festival.[97]

The 2015 festival hosted the swearing-in ceremony of Michelle K. Lee as the new head of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker administered the oath of office to Lee at the festival on Friday, March 13.[98]

Various sources called Meerkat, an iOS app that had launched two weeks earlier that lets users livestream video via Twitter, the breakout technology of SXSW Interactive.[99][100] Another product that got significant buzz was a prototype of the roadable aircraft AeroMobil.[99][100]

2016

SXSW 2016 began on March 11 and ended on March 20.[101]

On March 11, President Barack Obama gave a speech at SXSW Interactive in which he called on the technology industry to help solve many of America's problems, such as upgrading outdated networks, helping balance security and privacy, and the FBI–Apple encryption dispute.[102]

Films that premiered at SXSW Film include Everybody Wants Some!!, Keanu, Sausage Party, Pee-wee's Big Holiday and Don't Think Twice.[103]

On the night of March 20, gunshots rang out on 6th Street causing mass hysteria and panic. No injuries were reported and a man from Memphis was arrested with discharging a firearm and disturbing the peace.

2017

Films that premiered at SXSW Film include Song to Song, Baby Driver, Atomic Blonde, Gemini,[104] The Ballad of Lefty Brown. Spettacolo and The Disaster Artist.[105] Television shows that were previewed include The Son, Dear White People and American Gods.[104] To promote the Hulu original series The Handmaid's Tale, dozens of actresses silently walked the streets of downtown Austin costumed in red "handmaid" dresses.[106] To promote the third season of the AMC original series Better Call Saul (a spin-off prequel of Breaking Bad), a pop-up "Los Pollos Hermanos" restaurant, representing the fictional fast food chain featured in both series, appeared in downtown Austin.[107][108]

Guest speakers included former mayor of Newark, NJ and current Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey),[109] political activist and commentator Van Jones[110] and former Vice President Joe Biden,[111] who spoke about his cancer research initiative. Nile Rodgers gave the keynote address for the music portion of the festival,[112] while filmmakers Gareth Edwards[113] and Lee Daniels[114] gave the keynote presentations for the film portion.

Major companies and brands which exhibited at SXSW (many with standalone "brand activation" pavilions) included IBM, Intel, Panasonic, Nintendo, GE, Giorgio Armani, Mazda and National Geographic.

Major performers during the music component of the festival included Garth Brooks, Lana Del Rey, Lil Yachty, The Roots, The Avett Brothers, Willie Nelson, Solange Knowles, Rae Sremmurd, Migos, and The Chainsmokers among others.

En route to SXSW 2017, Italian post-punk band Soviet Soviet, traveling on the Visa Waiver Program, was denied entry to the United States, detained overnight and deported after an immigration officer at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport claimed they were planning on conducting a paid performance, which would have required a work visa. The band presented a letter from their American record label stating that both their performances at KEXP (which was what had brought the band to Seattle) and at SXSW were for promotional purposes only, but this failed to convince officials at the airport.[115] There was a "Contrabanned" showcase on March 17, featuring various artists and musicians (residents of the U.S. and Canada) who are natives of, or have family connections to, countries affected by the 2017 U.S. travel ban.[116][117]

Uber and Lyft pulled out of Austin in May 2016 as a result of a city ordinance mandating fingerprint-based background checks for drivers of any transportation network company.[118] However, other services such as (locally based) RideAustin, Fasten and Fare, were available, although in high demand. Uber and Lyft resumed service in Austin in May 2017.[119]

2018

(L to R) IGN's Laura Prudom, Dan Jurgens, Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis at SXSW 2018
IGN's Laura Prudom (far left) hosts a panel at 2018's South by Southwest convention discussing Superman's eightieth anniversary and the release of Action Comics #1000, with (left to right): Dan Jurgens, Jim Lee, Frank Miller, and Brian Michael Bendis.

SXSW 2018 ran from March 9 to 18.

Finalists of the 2018 SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event included Cambridge Cancer Genomics and Bluefield Technologies.[120] Two winners of the event were Austin-based: GrubTubs (in the Hyper-Connected Communities category) and ICON 3D (in the Social and Culture category).[121]

Guest speakers included U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont); entrepreneur Elon Musk; actor and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger; Mayor of London Sadiq Khan; author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates; journalist Christiane Amanpour; rap artist/producer David Banner, and film producer/directors Barry Jenkins, Darren Aronofsky and Steven Spielberg. Actor and comedian Bill Murray appeared at several unofficial functions during SXSW.

Major performers during SXSW Music included Tinashe, Rae Sremmurd, Rita Coolidge, Salt-N-Pepa and Khalid. There was an apparent increased emphasis on locally based performers, international acts and relative unknowns.

New games announced during the 2018 SXSW Gaming Expo included Sonic Mania Plus.[122] At the SXSW Gaming Awards (held March 17), the award for Game of the Year went to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.[123]

Films that premiered at the 2018 South By Southwest Film Festival include A Quiet Place, Blockers and Ready Player One.[124] Films that had their U.S. premiere include Final Portrait and Who We Are Now.[124] The film Thunder Road won the grand jury prize. TV series that previewed include Barry, Krypton, The Last O.G.[124] and Cloak & Dagger.[125] To promote the second season of the HBO series Westworld, a recreation of the show's fictional Western "town" of Sweetwater was built on two acres of open land just outside Austin. Fans took shuttles to the site, which was dressed in the Old West style, with over 60 actors playing the parts of the android "hosts".[126][127]

SXSW 2018 coincided with a string of bombings in Austin, which had begun on March 2 and ended on March 21, when the presumed perpetrator, Mark Anthony Conditt, blew himself up after being discovered by police.[128] Two of the bombings occurred during SXSW. On March 17, Live Nation Music, a company organizing events for SXSW, received a bomb threat via email. Police searched the area mentioned in the email and found nothing of concern, but planned performances by The Roots and Ludacris, among others, were canceled.[129][130] Police arrested 26-year-old Trevor Weldon Ingram the next day; Ingram was charged with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony, in connection with the email.[131]

2019

South by Southwest 2019 ran from March 8 to March 17.

Films premiered at SXSW Film included Us, The Beach Bum, Long Shot, Booksmart, Red 11, and The Highwaymen.[132] TV series that previewed included FX’s What We Do in the Shadows, Hulu’s Shrill and OWN’s David Makes Man.

At the SXSW Gaming Awards (held March 16), the award for Game of the Year went to God of War.[133]

Major performers for SXSW Music included Edie Brickell & New Bohemians (their first-ever appearance at SXSW).[134]

Winners of the 2019 SXSW Pitch event, in which emerging startups pitch to potential investors, included Derq, Pathway and ENZO Tyres. The “Best In Show" winner was Nebula Genomics[135]; the “Best Bootstrap" award went to TwentyTables and the “Best Speed Pitch” went to Xplosion Tech.[136]

Some of the first forums of the 2020 presidential race took place at SXSW, with Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang all making appearances at the festival (though O'Rourke had not yet announced his candidacy at the time).[137][138][139] Other scheduled guest speakers included politicians Mazie Hirono and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; musicians David Byrne and Wyclef Jean; actors and comedians Aidy Bryant, Kathy Griffin, Ethan Hawke, Trevor Noah and Zoe Saldana; businessmen Tim Ferriss, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Guy Kawasaki; and others including Priscilla Chan, Neil Gaiman, Valerie Jarrett, Bill Nye, Robert Rodriguez and Maria Shriver.

To promote the final season of Game of Thrones, HBO organized a blood drive with the American Red Cross titled "Bleed for the Throne" which included actors in costumes similar to those on the series.[140][141]

To promote the Amazon Prime original limited series Good Omens, a brand activation experience called "Garden of Earthly Delights" was installed in downtown Austin.[142][143]

Economic impact

SXSW is the highest revenue-producing event outside of athletic and other events associated with the University of Texas for the Austin economy, with an estimated economic impact of $190.3 million in 2012[144] increasing to $218 million in 2013,[145] $315 million in 2014,[146] $317 million in 2015,[147] and $325 million in 2016.[148] (In comparison, Super Bowl LI brought a $347 million economic impact to the Houston economy[149] and the 2016 Final Four brought a $324 million economic impact to the economy of Phoenix, Arizona.[150])

Additionally, demand for hotel rooms in the Austin area continued to outstrip supply, pushing average nightly room rates up to an all-time high of $350 in 2016, a 60 percent increase over the average room rate seen during 2011's edition of SXSW. The average SXSW registrant also stayed in Austin longer in 2016, spending an average of 5.2 nights, up from 4.9 nights in 2015.[151]

Criticism

The growth of the festival has brought concerns about violence, crowd control, and safety.[152][153]

The 2014 drunk-driving incident prompted discussion about whether the festival had grown too large and raucous.[154] The organizers of the festival—SXSW Holdings LLC and SXSW Holdings Inc.—were sued by families of the four victims.[155]

In May 2014, partially motivated by the 2014 crash, Austin's Urban Transportation Commission announced that it was seeking to enhance safety at the festival, with an initial focus on implementing transportation measures to resolve issues linked to the festival. The Austin Music Commission also met to discuss music venues and sound problems linked to the festival.[156] The city voted to limit the number of special events which would be approved to 114, a 32 percent decrease from the number of approved events during the 2014 festival.[157]

In 2013, NPR writer Andrea Swensson wrote that she had decided to stop attending the festival, writing, "I can't help but feel that it has strayed far away from its original premise as a grassroots gathering place for new, undiscovered talent and increasingly feels like a big ol' Times Square billboard-sized commercial."[158]

In October 2015, SXSW cancelled two video game panels ("#SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community" and "Level Up: Overcoming Harassment In Games") scheduled for the 2016 festival due to threats of violence made to the festival hosting the sessions.[159] In response to the cancellations, Buzzfeed and Vox Media made statements saying they would pull out of the festival if the two panels weren't reinstated.[160][161] Organizers then apologized for the cancellations. In lieu of a panel, South by Southwest hosted a daylong "online harassment summit" on March 12, 2016.[162]

In popular culture

  • Comedian and actor Fred Armisen began his comic career with the short film Fred Armisen's Guide to Music and SXSW, released in 1998, in which he poses as various characters, asking silly questions of musicians and other attendees at that year's SXSW Music Conference.[163][164]
  • SXSW was featured during the 2005 season of MTV's, The Real World. Cast members were tasked with shooting and editing their own documentary on the music festival.
  • The 2011 documentary Winning America is about a US tour of Canadian band Said the Whale that culminates in that year's SXSW Music Festival.
  • In the 2014 British film Frank, an experimental band (led by the title character) is booked to play a show at the SXSW Music Festival, but the gig leads to the band's breakup.

Similar festivals

The creators of South by Southwest co-created two similar festivals in 1995: North by Northwest (NXNW) in Portland, Oregon (co-founded by the Willamette Week), and North by Northeast (NXNE) in Toronto (co-founded by Now).[165] North by Northwest ended in 2001, and was replaced by MusicfestNW (MFNW), an event run entirely by the Willamette Week. It was joined by TechfestNW, a technology conference, in 2012.[166] From 2006 to 2010, SXSW organizers also ran West by Southwest (WXSW) in Tucson, Arizona, a music festival which occurred directly before South by Southwest and mostly featured bands that were also booked for SXSW.[167]

Other active festivals inspired by SXSW include the following:

Festivals inspired by SXSW that are no longer running include:

Festivals inspired by South by Southwest have been collectively nicknamed "four-letter festivals". Metro Silicon Valley, which founded C2SV, wrote in 2013 that such festivals were important revenue sources for the alternative weekly newspapers that founded them.[165]

On October 3, 2016, a one-day festival, called "South by South Lawn" (SXSL), was held at the White House; it was a collaboration between SXSW, US President Barack Obama, and the American Film Institute.[169]

References

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  2. ^ "About SXSW EDU". Sxswedu.com. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  3. ^ Schultz, Ina (March 11, 2017). "South by Southwest (SXSW) to collaborate with Mercedes-Benz at IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt: Premiere at IAA: International me Convention". media.daimler.com. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  4. ^ Roberts, Jordan (2017-06-14). "SXSW and Mercedes-Benz Announce Initial Programming for Collaborative Future-Focused Event in Europe". SXSW. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
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External links

Amazon Light

Amazon Light was an alternate user interface to Amazon.com built on the Amazon Web Services API. The site was developed by Alan Taylor, a former Amazon programmer, while he still worked for the company. The site was funded through Amazon affiliate links.

The website was intended to be a simpler and more efficient way to access Amazon.com and use its features. It allowed the user to search or browse Amazon's database of books, music, DVDs, and VHS tapes, and add items into a list. The list was then used to add the items into the user's Amazon.com shopping cart where they could then be purchased.

Amazon Light originally used a layout which resembled the main page of the Google search engine. In July 2002, Google's lawyers told it to cease and desist.Amazon Light 4.0 won the "Technical Achievement award" at the South by Southwest Web Awards in 2005.In July 2009, Alan Taylor announced on his blog that "Amazon Light (all four versions) will shut down."

Beware the Slenderman

Beware the Slenderman (stylized as _beware the slenderman) is a 2016 American documentary film directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky about the Slender Man stabbing. It premiered at South by Southwest in March 2016 and was broadcast on HBO on January 23, 2017.

Emo's

Emo's, formerly known as The Back Room, is a music and event venue located in Austin, Texas. Emo's got its start as a Houston punk club in 1989, with the Austin location opening in 1992. The Houston location closed its doors in September 2001.The nightclub is an official South by Southwest Music Festival venue, during which it consists of four stages. The annual Emissions from the Monolith festival relocated to Emo's in 2007. The club closed in December 2011 for reasons unknown, however in September of that same year, a new venue named Emo's East opened up on East Riverside, on the site of the old Back Room venue.On Feb 11, 2013, Emo's announced they were being sold to C3 Presents, the booking agent/production company behind Austin City Limits Festival and Lollapalooza, among other endeavors.

Fandor (film site)

Fandor is an American subscription film viewing service and social video sharing platform.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the company was established in 2010 and officially launched on March 9, 2011 at the South by Southwest festival and conference in Austin, Texas.Fandor "specializes in independent films, classics, silent films, foreign films, documentaries and shorts". Most of Fandor's more than 6,000 films are outside mainstream channels and hail from a variety of cultures, time periods, and genres. The service streams content to home theaters, through devices like Roku, computers, mobile devices, and tablets, like Apple Inc.'s iPad. It is also available through Sling TV as an add-on.

In September 2013, at the Toronto International Film Festival, Fandor announced that the site was launching to audiences in Canada. In 2018, the company laid off its entire staff and sold its assets to an undisclosed investment company.

First Flight (film)

First Flight is a 2006 computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation. It was written and directed by Cameron Hood and Kyle Jefferson.

The short debuted on March 12, 2006, at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. Theatrically it was released on May 19, 2006, in select New York and Los Angeles theatres, together with the film Over the Hedge.

Killer Diller

Killer Diller is a 2004 drama film with musical elements that had a limited release in 2006. Produced by Sprocketdyne Entertainment and distributed by Freestyle Releasing, the film was written and directed by Tricia Brock and is based on the novel by Clyde Edgerton. Bottleneck was its working title. It was screened at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March 2004 and the Tribeca Film Festival on May 4, 2004.

Life (2017 film)

Life is a 2017 American sci-fi horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds. The film follows a six-member crew of the International Space Station that uncovers the first evidence of life on Mars.

The first co-production between Skydance Media and Sony Pictures, the film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 18, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States by Columbia Pictures on March 24, 2017. It received mixed reviews, with praise for its acting, visuals and screenplay, but some criticism for lack of originality. The film grossed $100 million worldwide.

Long Shot (2019 film)

Long Shot is a 2019 American romantic comedy film directed by Jonathan Levine. The film stars Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron. The plot follows a journalist who begins to spend time with his former babysitter, who is now running for President.

It had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 9, 2019, and is scheduled for release in United States on May 3, 2019, by Lionsgate.

Meerkat (app)

Meerkat was a mobile app that enabled users to broadcast live video streaming through their mobile device. Once signed up, Meerkat users had the option of connecting their Facebook and Twitter accounts, to stream directly to their followers as soon as they went live. The app was available for both iOS and Android.

The app was released in February 2015, and quickly found popularity after its debut on the website Product Hunt, as well as widespread use during the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, both in March 2015.On October 4, 2016, Meerkat was shut down and has been replaced by Houseparty.

Running with Beto

Running with Beto is a 2019 documentary film following Beto O'Rourke's campaign in the 2018 United States Senate election in Texas. The film debuted at the 2019 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival and will premiere on HBO sometime in spring of 2019.

Saturday Night (2010 film)

Saturday Night is a 2010 documentary directed by James Franco. The film examines the production process of the NBC late-night live television sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live. Shot over a period of six days from December 1–6, 2008, the film was originally a school assignment for Franco at New York University.

The film premiered at the 2010 South by Southwest Film Festival on March 14, 2010, but was shelved for several years due to legal matters regarding its distributor and NBC. It was released on September 26, 2014 on Hulu.

Source Code

Source Code is a 2011 science-fiction action thriller film directed by Duncan Jones and written by Ben Ripley. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a U.S. Army captain who is sent into a computed reality to find a bomber. Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright play supporting roles. The film had its world premiere on March 11, 2011 at South by Southwest, and was released by Summit Entertainment on April 1, 2011 in North America and Europe.

The film received favorable reviews from critics and became a box office success, grossing over $147.3 million worldwide. Plans for a television adaptation at CBS were announced shortly after the film was released. However, these plans were scrapped in December 2014 in favor of a film sequel. The sequel is in development with Mark Gordon returning as producer and Anna Foerster added as director.

Styx River (West Central Queensland)

The Styx River is a river in the western portion of Central Queensland, Australia.

The headwaters of the river rise on the Gilberton Plateau in the Einasleigh Uplands, part of the Atherton Tableland in the Great Dividing Range. The river flows generally south by southwest through the Blackbraes National Park before reaching its confluence with the Gilbert River below Conical Hill. The river descends 121 metres (397 ft) over its 24-kilometre (15 mi) course.

The Beach Bum

The Beach Bum is a 2019 American comedy film written and directed by Harmony Korine. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Stefania LaVie Owen, Jimmy Buffett, Zac Efron and Martin Lawrence. It had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 9, 2019, and is scheduled to be released in the United States on March 29, 2019, by Neon.

The Great Escape Festival

The Great Escape Festival is a three-day music festival held in Brighton and Hove, England every year in May. It is operated by MAMA Festivals and showcases new music from a variety of genres. The festival was founded in 2006 and roughly hosts 300 bands across 30 venues throughout the city. It has been likened to South by Southwest.There is also a music industry convention section to the event, which is attended by over 3000 delegates. The 2011-2014 conferences have been programmed by the team from music industry publication CMU. Speakers have included Michael Eavis, DJ Shadow, Paul Epworth, and representatives of companies such as Beggars Group, Ticketmaster, PRS for Music, Universal Music Group and Topspin.

The headliner in 2015 was Alabama Shakes. [1]

In addition to the main festival, there is also The Alternative Escape, a further strand of 'unofficial' shows.

Us (2019 film)

Us is a 2019 American horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele. The film stars Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker, and follows a family who are confronted by a group of doppelgängers.

The project was first announced in February 2018, and much of the cast joined that summer. Peele produced the film alongside Jason Blum and Sean McKittrick (with the trio previously having collaborated on Get Out and BlacKkKlansman), as well as Ian Cooper. Filming took place from July to October 2018 in California.

Us had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 8, 2019 and was theatrically released in the United States on March 22, 2019, by Universal Pictures. The film has grossed $86 million worldwide and received praise from critics for Peele's screenplay and direction, as well as the score and acting.

Walrus / Groon

Walrus/Groon is a collaborative 12" EP between the Japanese experimental doom band Boris and Japanese noise musician Merzbow. It was first sold at the 2007 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

"Walrus" is a cover of "I Am the Walrus" by The Beatles, specifically the Spooky Tooth 1970 version. "Groon" shares its name with a King Crimson improvisational piece, but has no musical resemblance. A different version of "Groon" appears on Switching Rethorics as "Vanlla Groon", [sic] featuring sampled drums/guitar and credited to Merzbow only. It was later compiled on Another Merzbow Records. The artwork references that of the Yes album Close to the Edge. The release was pressed on five different vinyl colors: black, yellow with green, white with green, white with yellow, and clear with green.

Waterloo Records

Waterloo Records is an independent music and video retailer in Austin, Texas, that has been an integral part of Austin's

music scene since 1982. The store provides a large selection of new and used CDs, vinyl records, DVDs, Blu-rays, turntables, music-related magazines, t-shirts, concert tickets and other memorabilia. Waterloo is known for their knowledgeable staff, the ability to listen to anything in the store, and its support of Texas music.

The store takes its name, "Waterloo", from the original name of Austin adopted in 1839 after being designated as the new capital of the Republic of Texas. The store is located at 600A North Lamar Boulevard at the intersection of West 6th Street and North Lamar.

Waterloo regularly hosts in-store performances featuring live performances by local and internationally known artists of all genres, especially during the South by Southwest conferences and festivals during which they host up to 10 bands a day at their festival. Past in-store performers have included Willie Nelson, The Stooges, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Spoon, Steve Earle, My Morning Jacket, Cheap Trick, Jeff Buckley, My Bloody Valentine, Sebadoh, Alejandro Escovedo (a former Waterloo Records employee), Queens of the Stone Age, Norah Jones, Iron and Wine, The Shins, Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Bill Callahan, The Black Angels, Deertick, Wild Flag, St. Vincent, The Sword, Billy Squier, Man Man, and thousands more.

The Austin Chronicle has awarded the title "Best Record Store" in its Best of Austin awards to Waterloo Records every year since the store opened. Waterloo Records is also frequently listed alongside similar music stores such as California's Amoeba Music as one of the best record stores in the United States.

Wikipedia Zero

Wikipedia Zero was a project by the Wikimedia Foundation to provide Wikipedia free of charge on mobile phones via zero-rating, particularly in developing markets. The objective of the program was to increase access to free knowledge, in particular without data-usage cost. With 97 operators in over 72 countries, it is estimated that access to Wikipedia was provided to more than 800 million people through this program. The Wikipedia Zero program ended in 2018.

The program was launched in 2012, and won a 2013 South by Southwest Interactive Award for activism. After having received criticism over the years for violating the principle of net neutrality, in February 2018 the Wikimedia Foundation announced the end of the initiative, stating that it would take a new approach on partnerships.Facebook Zero has been cited as an inspiration for Wikipedia Zero.

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