The annual South by Southwest festival (aka SXSW) is the perfect storm of independent music, film and interactive media – just the kind of thing techie-music nerds like myself love.
And what better town to host an explosion of artists, fans and forward thinking computer and media types than Austin, TX? Long ago dubbed the “Live Music Capitol of the World,” Austin is one of the country’s hippest and youngest cities and SXSW has become an essential stop for bands looking for their big break.
Besides the hundreds of official festival lectures, screenings and concerts scheduled for the next week plus, there will be hundreds more shows and parties scattered around Austin. Bands will earn record contracts, filmmakers will get movie deals and a lot of barbecue will be eaten.
SXSW was originally only a music festival but the film and interactive portions have grown exponentially since they were first introduced in 1994. SXSW Interactive has featured keynote addresses from the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Cragslist founder Craig Newmark and much of the initial success of Twitter and Foursquare is credited to the festival.
On the music side, SXSW has seen breakout performances from bands like The Flaming Lips, The Polyphonic Spree and dozens of others. Only time will tell which bands get their big break this year but rest assured that thousands of musicians are currently strolling the streets of downtown Austin handing out their demoes.
Good luck – you are going to need it!
Sadly we didn't make it to Austin this year. Have you ever been? Looking to go next year? Let us know your impressions of the festival in the comment section below.