South By Southwest (SXSW) is an annual gathering of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences in Austin, Texas, that takes place between March 14th and the 21st. It was founded in 1987 and has grown in both size and scope every year since then. In 2017, the conference lasted 10 days with the interactive track.
The conference is organized by SXSW, LLC, which also runs conferences, trade shows, festivals, and other events. In addition to the three primaries South by Southwest festivals, the firm runs additional conferences: a conference on educational innovation called SXSW EDU (held in Austin) and me Convention (started in 2017), which is hosted by Mercedes. The SXSW organization has previously sponsored conferences including, from 2011 to 2016, the SXSW Eco conference, a gathering addressing social and environmental issues through the lens of technology, creativity and design held in Austin; and from 2013 to 2015, SXSW V2V: A Conference Focused on Innovative Startups. Previously, SXSW held music festivals in Portland, Oregon (North by Northwest), Toronto, Ontario (NXNE), and Tucson, Arizona (WXSW). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no in-person SXSW in 2020 or 2021; instead, there was a smaller online gathering each year. In April 2021, Penske Media Corporation purchased a 50% stake in SXSW.
As of 2014, SXSW Music is the world’s largest music event, with more than 2,000 performances. Each festival offers artist-provided music and video samples through their official YouTube channel via SXSW Music.
In its first year, the conference had 700 registrants, but by 2018 it attracts over 161,000 people. In 2013, SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive events attracted more than 32,000 registrants to Austin in March.
Bands must pay their own travel and lodging expenses to the event. All performers are given a cash payment or a wristband package that provides access to all music activities at the festival.
SXSW Film is an annual event that takes place in Austin, Texas. The SXSW Film Conference includes five days of conference discussions and workshops for filmmakers of all levels. Keynote speakers, panels, teaching sessions, mentorship sessions, and more are included in the program.
In 2015, the SXSW Film Conference organized over 250 sessions with more than 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. Although the film festival frequently features independently produced movies with creative viewpoints that are rarely seen in commercial theatres, it has long been a launching pad for studios, using enthusiastic audiences as a test of how their comedies may perform in wide release.
The SXSW Film Festival lasts for nine days, concurrently with the SXSW Film Conference, and seeks to promote raw innovation and emerging talent both behind and in front of the camera. The following are some of the categories available in this year’s festival: 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 are presented on the final day of the Film Conference, recognize films chosen by the Feature and Short Film Juries.
In 2015, the SXSW Film Festival featured 150 feature films and 106 short films out of 7,361 submissions. The Cabin in the Woods, Dance of the Dead, Bridesmaids, and Insidious are just a few examples of past notable world premieres. The TV series Girls, Silicon Valley, and Penny Dreadful are among previous selections
SXSW Interactive is a technology-focused event. The conference includes a trade show, speakers, parties, and a startup accelerator, among other things.
About SXSW Baby!
SXSW Baby! is an informal, unofficial weblog for participants in—or those considering it—South by Southwest, an annual new media, film and music conference and festival held in Austin, Texas.
We’re not affiliated in any way with SXSW, Inc., except as big fans and longtime participants. Consider this the “table in the corner” (we think Dinah Sanders came up with that analogy) of a cool Austin club, where you can discuss all the great things you’ve seen and heard and share your creative enthusiasm with a bunch of other happy idiots who just seem to “get it”.
Here you can trade information, tips and memories about SXSW, and meet a great group of folks for whom a sojourn to Austin is an early spring tradition.
This weblog was begun in January 2000 by Paul Bausch, Meg Hourihan, Evan Williams and others as a means to orient newcomers planning to attend for the first time and a way to network among folks who wanted to meet and get the most from the SXSW experience.
The internet being what it is, this weblog has moved around a lot. It started out built with Blogger and living at sxswb.com, then got a complete custom refit and moved over to sxswblog.com. Many of the earliest archives are in disarray. (We’re doing our best to restore what we can from past years as time permits!)
But this is what Ev had to say about the site originally, on January 31, 2000:
I’m not sure if it’s clear what the scope of this site is. (It’s not clear to me anyway.) Most people involved are going to the Interactive part of SXSW, so I was assuming that would be the slant of this site. But if a significant number of people are also going to Music (or Film), we might not want to limit it too much. But then, we don’t want tons of threads about everyone’s favourite bands if the focus is more interactive. A lot of topics straddle both, like Austin in general, where to stay, parties… We could just leave it open and see what develops.
They did leave it to develop, and it spread over the Interactive, Film and Music branches of SXSW. It turns out there are a lot of crossovers, both in terms of interest and participants. A few hardy souls do the whole schmear, setting up housekeeping in Austin for the 10-day event and emerging seriously sleepy-deprived and giddy.)
Some years after that, and with SXSW Baby! still ticking along nicely as the hip kid in the corner, Ev and co decided to retire from the site and live like kings in Patagonia. The site was passed on to Brad L Graham, already a fixture in Austin each year with his Break Bread with Brad opening events to SXSW week. To our great sadness, Brad died suddenly in January 2010, and SXSW Baby! moved on to its next Dread Pirate Roberts.
With a new crew in town, and (most of) the secrets of the site and the code worked out, SXSW Baby! is ready for its second decade. While we’ve closed the majority of The Baby! Boards, we’ve left open a space for Room Share for those of you looking for accommodation in Austin. If you have suggestions for another feature you’d like to see on SXSW Baby!, I’d like to know that too. You can contact me here.
Oh, I’m Ewan, by the way, your host and current custodian of The Baby! (just like everyone before, I’ll do my best to keep it safe!) Maybe we’ll meet again in Austin, eh? I’ll be the one in the kilt.
Baby Boards – SXSW 2013
A long time ago, SXSW Baby was all forum… then it was a blog and a forum… then mostly blog and a bit of forum. Frankly, the spam and maintenance on a forum were killing us, so last year we closed the forums, and left one page open for people to interact in the comments. That was the Room Share page, to help people to find crash space in Austin during SXSW.
That seemed to work, so we’ll be doing the same again, except we’re going to open up a few more communal pages with threaded comments for you to go wild in. But go wild in a respectful and polite way, or we’ll get the mod-stick out!