When most people think of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, a week of innovative, up-and-coming musical performances usually comes to mind. Since its inception in 1987, SXSW (as the festival is most often abbreviated) has been privy to countless musical talents such as John Mayer, The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Metallica, Katy Perry, and served as a launch pad to artists such as James Blunt and The Polyphonic Spree along with numerous others. This year, SXSW will be welcoming a stellar music lineup, including Green Day, Kimya Dawson, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Flaming Lips, and Lecrae. But did you know that beyond the cadence of musical ingenuity lies a world of innovation in film, gaming, and digital media as well?
Added in 1994, the SXSW Film and Multimedia Conference, which was later split into two separate entities, transformed what might have otherwise been just another music festival into a festival of cutting-edge creativity. The film conference, a five-day event with panels and workshops focusing on the ins-and-outs of “guerrilla filmmaking,” ends with the prominent and much-anticipated Film Awards. The Awards are judged by both jury panel and audience and critique both short, independent films and feature films alike. Prominent films from past SXSW festivals include the comedy “Bridesmaids” and the documentary “Undefeated,” both of which went on to win Academy Awards.
In the multimedia corner lies access to the hottest new digital work, from websites and installations to gaming and the latest gadgets technology has to offer. It also provides access to the brightest minds of the industry, and in the past has hosted interviews with former-Twitter CEO Evan Williams and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The gaming side of SXSW includes professional gaming tournaments, expos on the latest gaming technology, and kicks off each year with a gaming party, which will be hosted this year by frog design.
When does this extraordinary event take place, you ask? Fear not the need for patience, this year’s SXSW festival is just around the corner! Held March 8-17 in the Austin Convention Center, there are a variety of different badges you can choose from to tailor your SXSW experience to your interests here. Whether you’re a gamer, a hipster, a self-proclaimed techy-geek or you just can’t get enough talented live performances, SXSW has an array of options available that are sure to knock your glasses off.