In 1986 the organizers of New York’s “New Music Festival” wanted to bring their festival to Texas. They contacted the Austion Chronicle in the hopes of making it happen. Fortunately for Austin that deal feel through, Roland Swenson, a staffer at the Austin chronicle got together with his publisher Nick Barbaro, Editor Louis Black and Musician/booking agent Louis Meyers and decided to create a local music festival in Austin.
By 1993 SXSW had grown to the point that it had to be moved to the Austin Convention Center and by 1994 they added the Film and Multimedia Festival to the lineup. By 1994 Film and Multimedia were separated into to separate events and in 1999 the Multimedia Festival was renamed the Interactive Festival to better reflect it’s scope.
The music event has grown from 700 registrants in 1987 to over 28,000 registrants. Since 2007 SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive events have grown every year, most recently bringing over 51,000 registrants to Austin every March.
The event is scheduled every March to coinside with Spring Break at Texas University, Go figure!
Film Festival And Conferance
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.
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. 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.
SXSW Interactive is focused on emerging technology, a focus which has earned the festival a reputation as a breeding ground for new ideas and creative technologies. The festival includes a trade show, speakers, parties, and a startup accelerator. According to a festival organizer Louis Black, SXSW Interactive “has probably been the biggest of its kind in the world”. Since 2007 SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive events have grown every year, most recently bringing over 51,000 registrants to Austin every March
SXSW Music is the largest music festival of its kind in the world, with more than 2,000 acts. SXSW Music offers artist-provided music and video samples of featured artists at each festival via their official YouTube channel. 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.
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. Comedy and gaming components to the festival are particularly fast-growing.
SXSW is run by the company SXSW, LLC which organizes conferences, trade shows, festivals, and other events. In addition to the three main South by Southwest festivals, the company runs other conferences: SXSWedu, a conference on educational innovation, held in Austin, and (beginning in 2017) the me Convention, held in Frankfurt, Germany, in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. Former conferences run by the SXSW organization were SXSW Eco, an environmental conference held in Austin from 2011-2016; and one in Las Vegas: SXSW V2V, a conference focused on innovative startups which ran from 2013.
EDITORS NOTE: Making a Scene will be heading to South By Southwest to bring a first hand report of the SxSW experiance! Look for an in depth article on the SXSW Music Festival in the coming week!