This is our fourth year living in Austin during South by Southwest (SxSW). From Los Angeles I heard about SxSW, and I remember many days at the LAX airport seeing celebrities on their way to Austin for the festival.
Now that we live here, it is hard to explain how BIG this truly is.
Some of the best and newest technologies, musicians, and films are introduced to a global audience at SxSW. I have participated in the film festival and hosted Mariah McManus and her friends in 2012. Last year I saw several great shows including Half Moon Run.
This year we had the chance to host two different groups in our home using Air BnB – Jason Bobe of the Personal Genome Project and singer Juliette Ashby, a very talented singer handpicked by Amy Winehouse for her music label. Juliette has had shows at events put on by Russell Simmons and tonight she is the featured artist at an event hosted by Perez Hilton.
Beyond the celebrity (and there are many such as Nick Cage Lady Gaga, Jay Z, Kanye West, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Kevin Bacon, Nick Cage, Jon Favreau, and so many others), the music (2000 different acts), the digital awards for doing good (including my friend Mark Horvath), the 150,000 who attend the conference, the economic impact ($218 million pumped into the local economy in 2013), the corporate promotions which are everywhere (an international gathering of early adapters brings out the marketing teams in droves), at its core SxSW is about creativity, innovation, and artistry.
From the SxSW press release:
“For two weeks each March, Austin becomes the global epicenter for engaged creative professionals. The ability of SXSW to connect people across cultures and engage in ideas from a variety of disciplines remains the event’s core value proposition. The sheer scale and density of SXSW provides the opportunity for Austin residents and visitors alike to participate in the extraordinary celebration of creativity and innovation.”
Companies like twitter were revealed to the world at SxSW, and this year most buzz seems to be about wearable technology (“smart” motorcycle helmets and Oculus Rift a virtual reality 3D headset).
A great summarizing statement for SxSW has already been used by the University of Texas, but it seems quite appropriate that in our own little way:
“What starts here changes the world.”