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South by Southwest, abbreviated as SXSW and colloquially referred to as South By, is an annual conglomeration of parallel film,
interactive media Interactive media normally refers to products and services on digital computer-based systems which respond to the user's actions by presenting content such as text Text may refer to: Written word * Text (literary theory), any object that can ...
, and
music festival The music festival emerged in England in the 18th century as an extension of urban concert life into a form of seasonal cultural festivity structured around a schedule of music performances or concerts. It is generally an annually occurring eve ...

music festival
s and
conferences A conference is a meeting A meeting is when two or more people A people is a plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self ...
organized jointly that take place in mid-March in
Austin, Texas Austin (, ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a Department (country subdivision), department, country, Constituent state, state, province, or other administrative region, usuall ...

Austin, Texas
,
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

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 the interactive track lasting for five days, music for seven days, and film for nine days. 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: SXSW EDU, a conference on educational innovation, held in Austin, and the me Convention (started in 2017), held in
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt
, Germany and in Stockholm, Sweden, in collaboration with
Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz (), commonly referred to as just Mercedes, is a German luxury automotive marque A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sell ...

Mercedes-Benz
. Former conferences run by the SXSW organization include SXSW Eco, a conference focusing on social and environmental issues through the lens of technology, creativity and design held in Austin from 2011 to 2016; and another in Las Vegas: SXSW V2V, a conference focused on innovative startups, which ran from 2013 to 2015. Previously, SXSW produced music festivals North by Northwest (NXNW) in
Portland, Oregon Portland (, ) is the list of cities in Oregon, largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Oregon, and the county seat, seat of Multnomah County, Oregon, Multnomah County. It is a major port in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacif ...

Portland, Oregon
,
North by Northeast North by Northeast (or NXNE) is an annual music and arts festival held each June in Toronto Toronto is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 201 ...
(NXNE) in
Toronto Toronto (, ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016 in 2016, it is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, most p ...

Toronto
, and West by Southwest (WXSW) in
Tucson, Arizona Tucson (; es, Tucsón; O'odham The O'odham peoples, including the Tohono O'odham, the Pima Pima or PIMA may refer to: Places * Pima, Arizona, a town in Graham County * Pima County, Arizona * Pima Canyon, in the Santa Catalina Mountains * Pim ...
. There was no in-person SXSW in either 2020 or 2021 as a result of the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple or worldwide, affecting a substantial numbe ...

COVID-19 pandemic
; both years, there was a smaller online event instead. In April 2021,
Penske Media Corporation Penske Media Corporation (PMC) is an American digital media Digital media means any media (communication), communication media that operate with the use of any of various encoded machine-readable data formats. Digital media can be created, vi ...
purchased a 50% stake in SXSW.


Divisions


Music

SXSW Music is the largest
music festival The music festival emerged in England in the 18th century as an extension of urban concert life into a form of seasonal cultural festivity structured around a schedule of music performances or concerts. It is generally an annually occurring eve ...

music festival
of its kind in the world, with more than 2,000 acts as of 2014. SXSW Music offers artist-provided music and video samples of featured artists at each festival via their official YouTube channel. The music event has grown from 700 registrants in 1987, the first year of the conference, to over 161,000 attendees in 2018. SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive events have grown every year, bringing over 32,000 registrants to Austin in March 2013. 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.


Film

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. In 2015, the SXSW Film Conference programmed over 250 sessions with 735 speakers. Past speakers include
Jon Favreau Jonathan Kolia Favreau (; born October 19, 1966) is an American actor, comedian and filmmaker. As an actor, Favreau has appeared in the films ''Rudy (film), Rudy'' (1993), ''PCU (film), PCU'' (1994), ''Swingers (1996 film), Swingers'' (1996), ' ...

Jon Favreau
,
Mark Duplass Mark David Duplass (born December 7, 1976) is an American filmmaker, actor, writer, and musician. He is the brother of filmmaker Jay Duplass and together the brothers started the film production company Duplass Brothers Productions in 1996, and h ...
,
Ava DuVernay Ava Marie DuVernay (; born August 24, 1972) is an American filmmaker. She won the directing award in the U.S. dramatic competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film '' Middle of Nowhere'', becoming the first black wo ...

Ava DuVernay
,
Ryan Gosling Ryan Thomas Gosling (born November 12, 1980) is a Canadian actor. He began his career as a child star on the Disney Channel Disney Channel (originally called The Disney Channel from 1983 to 1997 and commonly shortened to Disney from 199 ...
,
Nicolas Cage Nicolas Kim Coppola (born January 7, 1964), known professionally as Nicolas Cage, is an American actor and filmmaker. Born into the Coppola family, Cage is the recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award The Academy A ...
,
Alejandro Jodorowsky Alejandro Jodorowsky Prullansky (; born 17 February 1929) is a Chilean-French filmmaker and artist. Since 1948, Jodorowsky has worked as a novelist, screenwriter, a poet, a playwright, an essayist, a film and theater director and producer, an a ...

Alejandro Jodorowsky
,
Tilda Swinton Katherine Matilda Swinton (born 5 November 1960) is a British actress. Known for her roles in independent films An independent film, independent movie, indie film, or indie movie is a feature film A feature film, or feature-length film, is a ...

Tilda Swinton
,
Amy Schumer Amy Beth Schumer (born June 1, 1981) is an American stand-up comedian and actress. She ventured into comedy in the early 2000s before appearing as a contestant on the fifth season Fifth is the Ordinal number (linguistics), ordinal form of the nu ...

Amy Schumer
,
Sally Field Sally Margaret Field (born November 6, 1946) is an American actress and director. She is the recipient of various accolades, including two Academy Awards The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and techn ...

Sally Field
,
Joss Whedon Joseph Hill Whedon (; born June 23, 1964) is an American film director, producer, writer, and composer. He is the founder of Mutant Enemy Productions, co-founder of Bellwether Pictures, and is best known as the creator of several television serie ...

Joss Whedon
,
Christine Vachon Christine Vachon (born November 21, 1962) is an American film producer active in the American independent film sector. Christine Vachon produced Todd Haynes' first feature, ''Poison (film), Poison'', which was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the ...
,
RZA #REDIRECT RZA#REDIRECT RZA Robert Fitzgerald Diggs (born July 5, 1969), better known by his stage name RZA ( ), is an American rapper, actor, filmmaker and record producer. He is the ''de facto'' leader of the hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan Wu- ...
,
Matthew McConaughey Matthew David McConaughey (; born November 4, 1969) is an American actor and producer. He first gained notice for his supporting performance in the coming-of-age comedy '' Dazed and Confused'' (1993), which was considered by many to be his bre ...

Matthew McConaughey
,
Danny Boyle Daniel Francis Boyle (born 20 October 1956) is a British director and producer. He is known for his work on films including ''Shallow Grave'', ''Trainspotting (film), Trainspotting'' and its sequel ''T2 Trainspotting'', ''The Beach (film), T ...
,
Seth MacFarlane Seth Woodbury MacFarlane (; born October 26, 1973) is an American actor, screenwriter, producer, film director, singer, and animator. He is the creator of the television series ''Family Guy'' (1999–present) and ''The Orville'' (2017–present ...
,
Catherine Hardwicke Helen Catherine HardwickeAccording to the State of Texas. ''Texas Birth Index, 1903–1997''. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. (born October 21, 1955) is an American film director ...
,
Richard Linklater Richard Stuart Linklater (; born July 30, 1960) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is known for films that revolve mainly around suburban culture and the effects of the passage of time. His films include the comedies ''S ...

Richard Linklater
,
David Gordon Green David Gordon Green (born April 9, 1975) is an American filmmaker. He directed the dramas ''George Washington (film), George Washington'' (2000), ''All the Real Girls'' (2003), and ''Snow Angels (film), Snow Angels'' (2007), as well as the thrill ...

David Gordon Green
,
Harmony Korine Harmony Korine (born January 4, 1973)
" Retrieved on 2009-10-26.
is an American film director, producer, screenwr ...
,
Henry Rollins Henry Lawrence Garfield (born February 13, 1961), known professionally as Henry Rollins, is an American singer, actor, presenter, comedian, and activist. He hosts a weekly radio show on KCRW KCRW (89.9 Hertz, MHz FM broadcast band, FM) is a Na ...

Henry Rollins
, Sarah Green and
Robert Rodriguez Robert Anthony Rodriguez (; born June 20, 1968) is an American filmmaker Filmmaking (or, in any context, film production) is the process by which a film is made. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages including an initia ...

Robert Rodriguez
. Although the film festival often highlights independently produced films and emerging directing talent with unique visions, the festival has long served studios as a starting point for their comedies, using enthusiastic fans as a barometer of how they might play in wide release. 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. In 2015, the SXSW Film Festival programmed 150 feature films and 106 short films, selected from 7,361 submissions. Past notable world premieres include ''
Furious 7 ''Furious 7'' (also known as ''Fast & Furious 7''), is a 2015 American action film directed by James Wan and written by Chris Morgan (writer), Chris Morgan. It is the sequel to ''Fast & Furious 6'' (2013) and the seventh installment in the ''Fas ...
'', '' Neighbors'', ''
Chef A chef is a trained professional cook and tradesman A tradesman, skilled tradesman, or tradie refers to a skilled worker who specializes in a particular occupation that requires work experience, on-the-job training, and often formal v ...
'', ''
21 Jump Street ''21 Jump Street'' is an American police procedural The police procedural, or police crime drama, is a subgenre of procedural drama and detective fiction that emphasizes the investigative procedure of a police officer or department as the pro ...
'', ''
The Cabin in the Woods ''The Cabin in the Woods'' is a 2011 American horror comedy Comedy horror or horror comedy, is a literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an ...
'', '' Dance of the Dead'', ''
Bridesmaids Bridesmaids are members of the bride's party in a Western traditional wedding ceremony. A bridesmaid is typically a young woman and often a close friend or relative. She attends to the bride A bride is a woman who is about to be married ...
'' and '' Insidious'', and the TV series ''
Girls A girl is a young female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism that produces the large non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells), the type of gamete (sex cell) that fuses with the Sperm, male gamete during sexual reproduction. A fema ...
'', ''
Silicon Valley Silicon Valley is a region in Northern California Northern California (colloquially known as NorCal) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the northern portion of the U.S. state of California California is a U.S ...
'' and ''
Penny Dreadful Penny dreadfuls were cheap popular serial literature produced during the nineteenth century in the United Kingdom. The pejorative term is roughly interchangeable with penny horrible, penny awful, and penny blood. The term typically referred to ...
''.


Interactive

SXSW Interactive is focused on emerging technology. The festival includes a trade show, speakers, parties, and a startup accelerator.


History


Inauguration – 1980s

In July 1986, the organizers of the
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
music festival
New Music Seminar The New Music Seminar (NMS) is a Music Conference and Festival held annually each June in New York City. The New Music Seminar originally ran from 1980 to 1995 and was relaunched in 2009. NMS features over 150 CEOs and other executives, presidents ...
contacted Roland Swenson, a staffer at the
alternative weekly An alternative newspaper is a type of newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media T ...
''
The Austin Chronicle ''The Austin Chronicle'' is an alternative weekly newspaper published every Thursday in Austin, Texas, United States. The paper is distributed through free news-stands, often at local eateries or coffee houses frequented by its targeted demogra ...
'', to talk about organizing an extension of that festival into Austin. They thereafter announced they were going to hold a "New Music Seminar Southwest". The plans did not materialize, however, so Swenson decided to instead co-organize a local music festival, with the help of two other people at the ''Chronicle'': editor and co-founder Louis Black, and publisher Nick Barbaro. Louis Meyers, a booking agent and musician, was also brought on board. Black came up with the name, as a play on the name of the
Alfred Hitchcock Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was an English film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is one of the most influential and widely studied filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as the "Master of S ...
film ''
North by Northwest ''North by Northwest'' is a 1959 American spy Espionage or spying is the act of obtaining secret or confidential information or divulging of the same without the permission of the holder of the information. A person who commits espiona ...
''. (While Southwest by South is an actual point on a compass, South by Southwest is not.) The event was first held in March 1987. The organizers considered it a regional event and expected around 150 attendees to show up, but over 700 came, and according to Black "it was national almost immediately."SXSW stays course, continues growth
Alex Geiser, ''
The Daily Texan ''The Daily Texan'' is the student newspaper A student publication is a media outlet such as a newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Se ...
'', March 18, 2010
Meyers left Austin and the festival in the early 1990s, but Black, Barbaro and Swenson remained the festival's key organizers as of 2010.


1990s

Singer-songwriter
Michelle Shocked Michelle Shocked (born Karen Michelle Johnston; February 24, 1962) is an American singer-songwriter. She took this name to reference "shell shocked" thousand yard stares. Her music entered the Billboard Hot 100, was nominated for Grammy award fo ...
was the keynote speaker at the 1992 South by Southwest. She caused controversy by delivering a speech, written by her then-husband
Bart Bull Bart Bull is an American writer, reporter, author, columnist, and critic. Background Born in Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, Kin ...
, criticizing white musicians for stealing music from
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...

African American
artists; and then later during the same conference when she tried to kick the band Two Nice Girls off of a benefit concert, a move that some called anti-gay, due to Two Nice Girls' overtly
lesbian A lesbian is a homosexual Homosexuality is Romance (love), romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or Human sexual activity, sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an end ...

lesbian
image. In 1993, SXSW moved into the
Austin Convention Center The Neal Kocurek Memorial Austin Convention Center is a multi-purpose convention center located in Austin, Texas. The building is the home of the Texas Rollergirls, and was also home to the Austin Toros basketball team, until their move to the Ced ...
, where it is still held. In 1994, SXSW added a component for film and other media, named the "SXSW Film and Multimedia Conference".
Johnny Cash John R. Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, especially in the later ...
was the keynote speaker. That year, the three brothers of the band Hanson were brought to SXSW by their father in order to perform impromptu auditions for music executives, in the hopes of getting industry attention. Among the people who heard them was A&R executive
Christopher Sabec Christopher Sabec is an Entertainment law, entertainment attorney, manager, and entrepreneur who has worked with Dave Matthews Band, Hanson (band), Hanson,http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20122601,00.html the Jerry Garcia EstateThe ...
, who became their manager, and would soon afterward get them signed to
Mercury Records Mercury Records was an American record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. ...

Mercury Records
. In 1995, the SXSW Film and Multimedia Conference was split into two separate events, "SXSW Film" and "SXSW Multimedia". In 1999, SXSW Multimedia was renamed "SXSW Interactive".


2000s

Singer-songwriter
John Mayer John Clayton Mayer ( ; born October 16, 1977) is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut Fairfield County is a county (United States), county in the southwestern corner of the U.S. sta ...
's performance at the 2000 SXSW Music festival led to his signing soon thereafter with
Aware Records Aware Records is an American record label. The label has had success with a range of artists, including John Mayer John Clayton Mayer ( ; born October 16, 1977) is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. Born in Br ...
, his first
record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and ad ...
. A performance by the band
The Polyphonic Spree The Polyphonic Spree is an American choral A choir (; also known as a chorale or chorus) is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform. Choirs may perform music from ...
at the 2002 SXSW Music festival helped bring them to national attention before they had signed with a major label. At the 2002 SXSW Film Festival, the film '' Manito'' won the jury award for narrative feature, while the documentary '' Spellbound'' won the jury award for documentary feature. British singer
James Blunt James Hillier Blount (born 22 February 1974), better known as James Blunt, is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. A former reconnaissance officer in the Life Guards regiment of the British Army T ...

James Blunt
was discovered by producer
Linda Perry Linda Perry (born April 15, 1965) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. She was the lead singer and primary songwriter of 4 Non Blondes, and has since founded two record labels and composed and produced hit songs for s ...

Linda Perry
while playing a small show at the 2004 SXSW Music festival, and was signed to Perry's
Custard Records Custard Records is an American record label, best known for its success with English singer-songwriter James Blunt. The label is run by former 4 Non Blondes member Linda Perry and has a partnership with Warner Music Group's Atlantic Records divisio ...
soon thereafter, where he would go on to release all three of his subsequent albums. The 2005 SXSW Film is considered by some to be the origin of the
mumblecore Mumblecore is a subgenre of independent filmHoberman, J. (August 14, 2007).It's Mumblecore!. ''The Village Voice''. Retrieved on July 27, 2008.Lim, Dennis (August 19, 2007)Mumblecore – The New Talkies: Generation DIY ''The New York Times''. Retri ...
film genre. A number of films now classified as mumblecore, including ''
The Puffy Chair ''The Puffy Chair'' is a 2005 road movie mumblecore film written and directed by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass. It stars Mark Duplass, Katie Aselton and Rhett Wilkins. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2005, a ...
'', ''
Kissing on the Mouth ''Kissing on the Mouth'' is a 2005 American film directed by Joe Swanberg Joseph Swanberg (born August 31, 1981) is an American independent film director, producer, writer, and actor. Known for micro-budget films which make extensive use of imp ...
'', '' Four Eyed Monsters'' and '' Mutual Appreciation'', were screened, and Eric Masunaga, a musician and the sound editor on ''Mutual Appreciation'', is credited with coining the term "mumblecore" at a bar while at the festival. The film '' Hooligans'' won both the Feature Film Jury Award and the Feature Film Audience Award for narrative feature, while ''The Puffy Chair'' won the Feature Film Audience Award in the "Emerging Visions" category. The documentary film '' Cowboy del Amor'' won the SXSW Competition Award and the Audience Award. A secret concert at the 2006 SXSW Music by the band
The Flaming Lips The Flaming Lips are an American psychedelic rock Psychedelic rock is rock music that is inspired, influenced, or representative of psychedelia, psychedelic culture, which is centered on perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. The music i ...
was called one of the "Top 10 Music-Festival Moments" of all time by ''
Time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
'' magazine in 2010. The 2006 SXSW Interactive featured a keynote panel of Wikipedia co-founder
Jimmy Wales Jimmy Donal Wales (born August 7, 1966), also known by the pseudonym Jimbo, is an American-British Internet entrepreneur An Internet entrepreneur is an owner, founder or manager of an Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Inter ...

Jimmy Wales
and
Craigslist Craigslist (stylized as craigslist) is an American classified advertisement Classified advertising is a form of advertising, particularly common in newspapers, online and other periodicals, which may be sold or distributed free of charge. Cla ...

Craigslist
founder
Craig Newmark Craig Alexander Newmark (born December 6, 1952) is an American internet entrepreneur and philanthropist best known as the founder of the classifieds website Craigslist Craigslist (stylized as craigslist) is an American classified advertiseme ...

Craig Newmark
. That year, "Screenburn at SXSW", a component for
video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensing device to generate visual f ...
s, was added to SXSW Interactive.


2007

The 2007 music festival took place from March 14 to 18, and more than 1,400 acts performed. Two of the top film premieres that year were '' Elvis and Anabelle'' and '' Skills Like This''. The
social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

social media
platform
Twitter Twitter is an American microblogging Microblogging is an online Broadcasting, broadcast medium that exists as a specific form of blogging. A micro-blog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actu ...

Twitter
notably gained a good deal of early traction and buzz at the 2007 SXSW Interactive, though it did not launch at SXSW 2007 as is sometimes reported.


2008

The 2008 SXSW Interactive got media attention due to a keynote interview of
Facebook Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...

Facebook
CEO
Mark Zuckerberg Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (; born ) is an American media magnate, internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined ...
by technology journalist
Sarah Lacy Sarah Ruth Lacy (born December 29, 1975) is an American Technology journalism, technology journalist and author. Early life Lacy received her B.A. in literature from Rhodes College. Career Lacy is the former co-host of web video show Yahoo! Tech ...

Sarah Lacy
that was considered by some observers to be a "train wreck" due to an audience perception that Lacy was asking uninteresting questions, as well as mocking or terse answers in response from Zuckerberg. In 2008, a comedy element was added to SXSW; it was held for one night. (By 2012, comedy performances occurred on all nights of the festival.)


2009

The 2009 festival was held March 13–22. The Interactive section of SXSW in particular drew larger attendance levels; the influx strained the networks of providers such as
AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a ...

AT&T
(primarily due to heavy
iPhone {{Infobox information appliance , name = iPhone , logo = , image = , caption = The front face of an iPhone 13 Pro The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. They are the flagship smart ...

iPhone
usage). Also new was the founding of an international organization for those not attending, dubbed NotAtSXSW. Coordinating through
Twitter Twitter is an American microblogging Microblogging is an online Broadcasting, broadcast medium that exists as a specific form of blogging. A micro-blog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actu ...

Twitter
and other online tools, notatsxsw events were held in London, New York, Wisconsin, Portland, Oregon and Miami. The 2009 SXSW Interactive saw the launch of the Foursquare application, which was called "the breakout
mobile app A mobile application, also referred to as a mobile app or simply an app, is a computer program In imperative programming In computer science, imperative programming is a programming paradigm that uses Statement (computer science), statements t ...
" of the event by the ''
Mashable Mashable is an international entertainment, culture, tech, science and social good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemolog ...

Mashable
'' blog. 2009 also saw the first Indian classical music artists perform at SXSW. Canadians
Cassius Khan Cassius Khan (born 7 June 1974), is a Canadian Indian classical Indian classical music is the classical music of the Indian subcontinent. It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called ''Hindustani classic ...
, a renowned tabla player and singer performed with Amika Kushwaha on harmonium and were featured Canadians on CBC Canada's most favorite list. The 2009 SXSW Film screened 250 films, including 54 world premieres. The event was notable for having the United States premiere of the film ''
The Hurt Locker ''The Hurt Locker'' is a 2008 American war film, war thriller film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal. It stars Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Christian Camargo, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse (actor), David Morse, a ...
'', which went on to win the
Academy Award for Best Picture The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises ...
in 2010. The winners of the feature jury awards were, for documentary feature, '' 45365'', and for narrative feature, ''
Made in China Made in China, Product of China or sometimes Made in PRC () is a country of origin label affixed to products manufactured in the China, People's Republic of China. The Made in China label is the most recognizable label in the world today, due to ...
''.


2010s


2010

The 2010 music festival, which took place March 12–21, was dedicated to
Alex Chilton William Alexander Chilton (December 28, 1950 – March 17, 2010) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer best known as the lead singer of the Box Tops and Big Star. Chilton's early commercial success in the 1960s ...

Alex Chilton
, who died shortly before he was to perform with
Big Star Big Star was an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, che ...
. A tribute concert was performed in his honor on March 20, 2010. At the 2010 festival, nearly 2,000 bands were officially scheduled to perform, and festival reps estimated that over 13,000 industry representatives attended. Though traditionally the Austin Music Awards kick off the festival, that year organizers slated it as the closing act. Local musician
Bob Schneider Bob Schneider (born October 12, 1965) is an Austin, Texas–based musician and former lead-singer of Ugly Americans. He has released around a dozen albums, mostly on his own Shockorama label. ''Lonelyland'' (2001) was licensed through Univer ...
earned 6 awards, including Song of the Year, Singer of the Year, and Band of the Year (with Lonelyland.) The 2010 festival was also notable for appearances by the surviving members of the band
Moby Grape Moby Grape is an American rock group from the 1960s, known for having all five members contribute to singing and songwriting, which collectively merged elements of folk music, blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was origina ...
. At the 2010 Film festival,
Magnolia Pictures Magnolia Pictures is an American film distributor. It is a subsidiary of Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's 2929 Entertainment. Magnolia was formed in 2001 by Bill Banowsky and Eamonn Bowles, and specializes in both foreign and independent films. Magn ...
bought the film rights to the science-fiction film ''
Monsters A monster is a type of fictional creature found in Horror fiction, horror, fantasy, science fiction, folklore, mythology and religion. Monsters are very often depicted as dangerous and aggressive with a strange, grotesque appearance that causes ...
'' on the night it screened, in what was the first-ever "overnight acquisition" at SXSW. Journalist Meredith Melnick of ''
Time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
'' magazine called this purchase a turning point for SXSW, leading to a greater interest among film studio executives in attending the festival in person. That year also saw the premiere of the indie favorite '' Tiny Furniture'', which won the award for Best Narrative Feature. The 2010 Interactive festival had an estimated 12–13,000 paying attendees, which represented a 40% jump over the previous year.Confirmed: SXSW Interactive paid registration surpasses Music
Omar L. Gallaga, ''Austin360.com'', March 17, 2010
This was the first year in which the interactive festival's attendance surpassed the music festival's. The keynote presentation was an interview of then-Twitter CEO Evan Williams by Umair Haque, an interview that many in the audience found disappointingly superficial. Also during the interactive festival, the first-ever (and so far only) "Hive Awards For the Unsung Heroes of the Internet" were held.


2011

The 2011 SXSW festival ran from March 11 to 20. The keynote presenter for SXSW Interactive was Seth Priebatsch, founder and CEO of the mobile-gaming platform SCVNGR. The 2011 Interactive festival was by far the largest it had ever been, with an estimated 20,000 attendees.Where the Geeks Are: Dispatches From the Largest SXSW Interactive Ever
L. A. Lorek, ''Daily Finance'', March 15, 2011
Also in attendance at SXSW was boxing legend
Mike Tyson Michael Gerard Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is an American former professional boxer Professional boxing, or prizefighting, is regulated, sanctioned boxing Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing boxing glove, protec ...

Mike Tyson
, promoting his new iPhone game with at the Screenburn Arcade. At least two films screened at the SXSW Film festival gained distribution deals: the documentary '' Undefeated'' (which went on to win the
Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature The Academy Award for Documentary Feature is an award for documentary films. In 1941, the first awards for feature-length documentaries were bestowed as Special Awards to '' Kukan'' and '' Target for Tonight''. They have since been bestowed compe ...
) and the thriller '' The Divide''. As a result, film critic Christopher Kelly wrote that in 2011, SXSW Film went from being "a well-regarded but fundamentally regional event" to having "joined the big leagues of film festivals around the world." That festival was also notable for having the premiere of the film ''
Bridesmaids Bridesmaids are members of the bride's party in a Western traditional wedding ceremony. A bridesmaid is typically a young woman and often a close friend or relative. She attends to the bride A bride is a woman who is about to be married ...
''.SXSW: '21 Jump St.,' 'Cabin in the Woods' eye 'Bridesmaids' bouquet
Mark Olsen, ''24 Frames'' (''Los Angeles Times'' blog), March 8, 2012
The March 15 screening of the
Foo Fighters Foo Fighters are an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compoun ...

Foo Fighters
documentary '' Back and Forth'' was followed by a surprise live performance by the band itself, with a setlist that included the entirety of the then-upcoming album ''
Wasting Light ''Wasting Light'' is the seventh studio album by American rock band Foo Fighters Foo Fighters is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1994. It was founded by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl as a one-man project followin ...
''.


2012

SXSW 2012 ran from March 9 to 18. The standout technology of the 2012 SXSW Interactive was generally stated to be " social discovery" mobile apps, which let users locate other nearby users. Social discovery apps that had a presence at SXSW included Highlight, Glancee, Sonar and Kismet. SXSW Film saw the premiere of two major Hollywood films: ''
The Cabin in the Woods ''The Cabin in the Woods'' is a 2011 American horror comedy Comedy horror or horror comedy, is a literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an ...
'' and ''
21 Jump Street ''21 Jump Street'' is an American police procedural The police procedural, or police crime drama, is a subgenre of procedural drama and detective fiction that emphasizes the investigative procedure of a police officer or department as the pro ...
''. Two films obtained distribution deals: ''
Girls Against Boys Girls Against Boys is an American post-hardcore Post-hardcore is a punk rock music genre that maintains the aggression and intensity of hardcore punk but emphasizes a greater degree of creative expression initially inspired by post-punk and noi ...
'' and '' The Tall Man''. Another film, '' Gimme the Loot'', which won the SXSW Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize, got a distribution deal a week after the festival. ''
Bay of All Saints 275px, Baía de Todos os Santos The Bay of All Saints ( pt, Baía de Todos os Santos), also known as All Saints' Bay and Todos os Santos Bay, is the principal bay of the Brazilian state of Bahia, to which it gave its name. It sits on the Brazilian ...
'' received the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary. 2012 was also the first year the music portion was expanded to Tuesday. The musical festival included rappers such as
Talib Kweli Talib Kweli Greene (; born October 3, 1975) is an American rapper, entrepreneur, broadcaster and activist. Kweli earned recognition early on through his collaboration with fellow Brooklyn rapper Mos Def, when they formed the group Black Star (rap ...

Talib Kweli
and
Lil' Wayne Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (born September 27, 1982), known professionally as Lil Wayne, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record executive, entrepreneur, and actor. He is regarded by many contemporaries as one of the most influential h ...

Lil' Wayne
, along with surprise appearances by
Big Sean Sean Michael-Leonard Anderson (born March 25, 1988), known professionally as Big Sean, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Sean signed with Kanye West Ye ( ; born Kanye Omari West, June 8, 1977) ( ), more commonly known by his ...

Big Sean
and
Kanye West Ye ( ; born Kanye Omari West, June 8, 1977) ( ), more commonly known by his birth name, is an American rapper, record producer, and fashion designer. Born in Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities ...

Kanye West
; indie bands that appeared included MENEW and
The Shins The Shins are an American indie rock Indie rock is a genre of rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. ...

The Shins
.
Bruce Springsteen Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, and musician who is both a solo artist and the leader of the E Street Band The E Street Band is an American rock band, and has been musician Bruc ...

Bruce Springsteen
was the keynote speaker for the music festival.


2013

SXSW 2013 ran from March 8 to 17. The big-budget films ''
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone ''The Incredible Burt Wonderstone'' is a 2013 American comedy film directed by Don Scardino and written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (filmmaker), Jonathan Goldstein, based on a story by Chad Kultgen and Tyler Mitchell, and Daley an ...
'' and ''
Evil Dead ''Evil Dead'' is an American Supernatural horror film, supernatural horror film franchise created by Sam Raimi consisting of four feature films and a television series. The series revolves around the ''Necronomicon Ex-Mortis'', an ancient Sumerian ...
'' premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film, and ''
Spring Breakers ''Spring Breakers'' is a 2012 American crime film Crime films, in the broadest sense, is a film genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime and its det ...
'' had its U.S. premiere. The film ''
Short Term 12 ''Short Term 12'' is a 2013 American independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of th ...

Short Term 12
'' won the grand jury award for Best Narrative Feature. The films ''
Awful Nice ''Awful Nice'' is a 2013 American comedy film directed by Todd Sklar and written by Sklar and Alex Rennie. The film stars Rennie, James Pumphrey, Christopher Meloni, Brett Gelman, Keeley Hazell and Josh Fadem. The film was released on March 7, 201 ...
'', '' Cheap Thrills'', and ''
Haunter Haunter () , known in Japan as , is a Pokémon species in Nintendo is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. The company was founded in 1889 as by craftsma ...
'' received distribution deals, and '' Drinking Buddies'' obtained a distribution deal several days later. The 2013 SXSW Interactive saw another huge jump in registration, now with 30,621 paying attendees. This was over three times the number that had attended in 2008 (9,000), just five years previously. The keynote talk for the 2013 SXSW Interactive was given by
SpaceX Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space trans ...
CEO
Elon Musk Elon Reeve Musk (; born June 28, 1971) is an entrepreneur and business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term characteris ...

Elon Musk
.SXSW 2013: This revolution is brought to you by...
Hamdan Azhar, ''Washington Post'' ideas@innovations blog, March 11, 2013
The "Screenburn" and "Arcade" components were renamed to "SXSW Gaming" and "SXSW Gaming Expo", respectively. The Interactive conference had an increased corporate presence, featuring major participation by
Samsung The Samsung Group (or simply Samsung) ( ko, 삼성) is a South Korean Multinational corporation, multinational manufacturing Conglomerate (company), conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea. It comprises numerous affil ...

Samsung
, ,
Target TARGET2 (Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross Settlement Express Transfer System) is the real-time gross settlement Real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems are specialist Electronic funds transfer, funds transfer systems where the transfer ...
,
American Airlines American Airlines, Inc. (AA or AAL) is a major American airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly kn ...

American Airlines
,
Adobe Systems Adobe Inc. ( ) is an American multinational computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the sy ...
and
AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a ...

AT&T
, among others. According to
CNN The Cable News Network (CNN) is a multinational news-based pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The ...

CNN
,
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
and
CNET ''CNET'' (short for "Computer Network"), stylised C, net, is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos on technology and consumer electronics Consumer electronics or home electronics ...
called
Grumpy Cat Tardar Sauce (April 4, 2012 – May 14, 2019), nicknamed Grumpy Cat, was an American Internet celebrity An Internet celebrity (also known as a social media influencer) is a celebrity who has acquired or developed their fame and notability throu ...
the undisputed "biggest star" of SXSW Interactive over Musk,
Al Gore Albert Arnold Gore Jr. (born March 31, 1948) is an American politician and environmentalist who served as the 45th vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Gore was Bill Clinton's running mate in their Bill Clinton presidential ...

Al Gore
and
Neil Gaiman Neil Richard MacKinnon GaimanBorn as Neil Richard Gaiman, with "MacKinnon" added on the occasion of his marriage to Amanda Palmer. (; born Neil Richard Gaiman, 10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graph ...
.


2014

SXSW 2014 ran from March 7 to 16. SXSW Film had premieres of the big-budget films '' Neighbors'', ''
Veronica Mars ''Veronica Mars'' is an American teen film noir, noir Mystery fiction, mystery Drama (film and television), drama television series created by screenwriter Rob Thomas (writer), Rob Thomas. The series is set in the fictional town of Neptune, Cal ...
'' and ''
Chef A chef is a trained professional cook and tradesman A tradesman, skilled tradesman, or tradie refers to a skilled worker who specializes in a particular occupation that requires work experience, on-the-job training, and often formal v ...
'', and ''
Cesar Chavez Cesar Chavez (born Cesario Estrada Chavez ; ; March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) was a American labor leader and civil rights activist. Along with Dolores Huerta, he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), which later merged ...
'' had its North American premiere. A clip for the big-budget film ''
Godzilla is a fictional monster, or ''kaiju is a Japanese genre of films and television featuring giant monster A monster is often a type of grotesque creature, whose appearance frightens and whose powers of destruction threaten the human w ...
'' was also screened. The films ''
Space Station 76 ''Space Station 76'' is a 2014 American Science fiction film, science fiction dark comedy film, directed by Jack Plotnick, and co-written by Plotnick, Jennifer Elise Cox, Sam Pancake, Kali Rocha, and Michael Stoyanov. It is the first film directed ...
'' and '' Exists'' got distribution deals at the festival, while ''Fort Tilden (film), Fort Tilden'' (which won the Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize) and ''Open Windows (film), Open Windows'' got distribution deals shortly afterward. A new section, "Episodic" (on television programming) was introduced to SXSW Film. Television series that previewed at the festival include ''
Silicon Valley Silicon Valley is a region in Northern California Northern California (colloquially known as NorCal) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the northern portion of the U.S. state of California California is a U.S ...
'' and ''From Dusk till Dawn: The Series''. The talk show ''Jimmy Kimmel Live!'' was taped for a week at the festival; it joined the talk show ''Watch What Happens: Live'', which began taping at SXSW in 2013. SXSW Interactive featured a keynote speech by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, via streaming video, about privacy rights. The festival also featured a talk from another famous leaker, Julian Assange, also speaking remotely. Besides privacy issues, another major focus of the Interactive festival was wearable technology, including devices for augmented reality, activity tracker, activity tracking, identity authentication, charging cell phones and others. ''Computerworld'' magazine called the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality gaming headset, the "sleeper hit" of the festival, although it was displayed not at the Interactive but at the Film portion, as part of a ''Game of Thrones'' exhibit. The SXSW Gaming section introduced its SXSW Gaming Awards to recognize achievement in video and other types of gaming, which has continued through future SXSW festivals. The keynote presenter and headline act this year for Stubb's was Lady Gaga. To promote her upcoming album, ''Food (Kelis album), Food'', Kelis cooked and served barbecue-style food from a food truck to festival attendees. On March 13, 2014, a drunk driver, Rashad Charjuan Owens, drove his car into a crowd of festival attendees while trying to evade a traffic stop. Two people were killed immediately, another two died later from their injuries and another 21 were injured but survived. Owens was convicted of capital murder charges after a November 2015 trial in which eyewitnesses testified that about "a chaotic and harrowing scene" on the night, as hundreds of people ran and screamed as the car sped through crowds of people. Owens was given an automatic sentence of life without parole, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. On March 15, 2014, rapper Tyler, the Creator was arrested on misdemeanor charges of "inciting to riot" after yelling to fans to push their way past security guards at a sold-out show the previous day. In February 2016, the riot charges were dropped against Tyler, The Creator pursuant to a plea agreement with prosecutors (under which the rapper pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of disorderly conduct and paid a $100 fine, with the case to be dismissed if he stays out of trouble for three months).


2015

SXSW 2015 took place from March 13 to 22. SXSW Film screened 145 feature films, an all-time high for the festival. The big-budget films ''
Furious 7 ''Furious 7'' (also known as ''Fast & Furious 7''), is a 2015 American action film directed by James Wan and written by Chris Morgan (writer), Chris Morgan. It is the sequel to ''Fast & Furious 6'' (2013) and the seventh installment in the ''Fas ...
'' (which was a last-minute addition to the lineup), ''Get Hard'', ''Spy (2015 film), Spy'', a rough cut of ''Trainwreck (film), Trainwreck'', ''Moonwalkers (film), Moonwalkers'' and ''The Final Girls'' had their world premieres, as did the documentaries ''Danny Says (film), Danny Says'', ''Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine'' and ''Brand: A Second Coming''. ''Ex Machina (film), Ex Machina'' had its North American premiere. ''6 Years'', ''Manson Family Vacation'' and ''Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine'' all got distribution deals at the festival. The 2015 festival hosted the swearing-in ceremony of Michelle K. Lee as the new head of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker administered the oath of office to Lee at the festival on Friday, March 13. Various sources called Meerkat (app), Meerkat, an iOS app that had launched two weeks earlier that lets users livestream video via Twitter, the breakout technology of SXSW Interactive. Another product that got significant buzz was a prototype of the roadable aircraft AeroMobil.


2016

SXSW 2016 began on March 11 and ended on March 20. On March 11, President Barack Obama gave a speech at SXSW Interactive in which he called on the technology industry to help solve many of America's problems, such as upgrading outdated networks, helping balance security and privacy, and the FBI–Apple encryption dispute. Films that premiered at SXSW Film include ''Everybody Wants Some!! (film), Everybody Wants Some!!'', ''Keanu (film), Keanu'', ''Sausage Party'', ''Pee-wee's Big Holiday'' and ''Don't Think Twice (film), Don't Think Twice''. On the night of March 20, gunshots rang out on 6th Street causing mass hysteria and panic. No injuries were reported and a man from Memphis was arrested with discharging a firearm and Breach of the peace, disturbing the peace.


2017

Films that premiered at SXSW Film include ''Song to Song'', ''Baby Driver (film), Baby Driver'', ''Atomic Blonde'', ''Gemini (2017 film), Gemini'', ''The Ballad of Lefty Brown''. ''Spettacolo'' and ''The Disaster Artist (film), The Disaster Artist''. Television shows that were previewed include ''The Son (TV series), The Son'', ''Dear White People (TV series), Dear White People'' and ''American Gods (TV series), American Gods''. To promote the Hulu original series ''The Handmaid's Tale (TV series), The Handmaid's Tale'', dozens of actresses silently walked the streets of downtown Austin costumed in red "handmaid" dresses. To promote the third season of the AMC (TV channel), AMC original series ''Better Call Saul'' (a spin-off prequel of ''Breaking Bad''), a pop-up "Los Pollos Hermanos" restaurant, representing the fictional fast food chain featured in both series, appeared in downtown Austin. Guest speakers included former mayor of Newark, NJ and current Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), political activist and commentator Van Jones and former Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke about his cancer research initiative. Nile Rodgers gave the keynote address for the music portion of the festival, while filmmakers Gareth Edwards (director), Gareth Edwards and Lee Daniels gave the keynote presentations for the film portion. Major companies and brands which exhibited at SXSW (many with standalone "brand activation" pavilions) included IBM, Intel, Panasonic, Nintendo, General Electric, GE, Armani, Giorgio Armani, Mazda and National Geographic Society, National Geographic. Major performers during the music component of the festival included Garth Brooks, Lana Del Rey, Lil Yachty, The Roots, The Avett Brothers, Willie Nelson, Solange Knowles, Rae Sremmurd, Cardiel, Migos, and The Chainsmokers among others. En route to SXSW 2017, Italy, Italian post-punk band Soviet Soviet, traveling on the Visa Waiver Program, was denied entry to the United States, detained overnight and deportation, deported after an U.S. Customs and Border Protection, immigration officer at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport claimed they were planning on conducting a paid performance, which would have required a work visa. The band presented a letter from their American
record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and ad ...
stating that both their performances at KEXP-FM, KEXP (which was what had brought the band to Seattle) and at SXSW were for promotional purposes only, but this failed to convince officials at the airport. There was a "Contrabanned" showcase on March 17, featuring various artists and musicians (residents of the U.S. and Canada) who are natives of, or have family connections to, countries affected by the Executive Order 13769, 2017 U.S. travel ban. Uber and Lyft were not available to attendees because they had pulled out of Austin in May 2016 as a result of a city ordinance mandating fingerprint-based background checks for drivers of any ridesharing company. However, other services such as (locally based) RideAustin, Fasten (company), Fasten and Fare, were available, although in high demand. Uber and Lyft resumed service in Austin in May 2017.


2018

SXSW 2018 ran from March 9 to 18. Finalists of the 2018 SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event included Cambridge Cancer Genomics and Bluefield Technologies. Two winners of the event were Austin-based: GrubTubs (in the Hyper-Connected Communities category) and ICON 3D (in the Social and Culture category). Guest speakers included politicians Bernie Sanders, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sadiq Khan; journalists Christiane Amanpour and Ta-Nehisi Coates; filmmakers Barry Jenkins, Darren Aronofsky and Steven Spielberg; and others including
Elon Musk Elon Reeve Musk (; born June 28, 1971) is an entrepreneur and business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term characteris ...

Elon Musk
and David Banner. Actor and comedian Bill Murray appeared at several unofficial functions during SXSW. Major performers during SXSW Music included Tinashe, Rae Sremmurd, Rita Coolidge, Salt-N-Pepa and Khalid (singer), Khalid. There was an apparent increased emphasis on locally based performers, international acts and relative unknowns. New games announced during the 2018 SXSW Gaming Expo included ''Sonic Mania Plus''. At the SXSW Gaming Awards (held March 17), the award for Game of the Year went to ''The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.'' Films that premiered at the 2018 South By Southwest Film Festival include ''A Quiet Place (film), A Quiet Place,'' ''Blockers (film), Blockers'' and ''Ready Player One (film), Ready Player One''. Films that had their U.S. premiere include ''Final Portrait'' and ''Who We Are Now''. The film ''Thunder Road (2018 film), Thunder Road'' won the grand jury prize. TV series that previewed include ''Barry (TV series), Barry'', ''Krypton (TV series), Krypton'', ''The Last O.G.'' and ''Cloak & Dagger (TV series), Cloak & Dagger''. To promote the second season of the HBO series ''Westworld (TV series), Westworld'', a recreation of the show's fictional Western "town" of Sweetwater was built on two acres of open land just outside Austin. Fans took shuttles to the site, which was dressed in the Old West style, with over 60 actors playing the parts of the android "hosts". SXSW 2018 coincided with a Austin serial bombings, string of bombings in Austin, which had begun on March 2 and ended on March 21, when the presumed perpetrator, Mark Anthony Conditt, blew himself up after being discovered by police. Two of the bombings occurred during SXSW. On March 17, Live Nation Music, a company organizing events for SXSW, received a bomb threat via email. Police searched the area mentioned in the email and found nothing of concern, but planned performances by The Roots and Ludacris, among others, were canceled. Police arrested 26-year-old Trevor Weldon Ingram the next day; Ingram was charged with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony, in connection with the email.


2019

South by Southwest 2019 ran from March 8 to 17. Films entered at SXSW Film included ''Us (2019 film), Us'', ''The Beach Bum'', ''Long Shot (2019 film), Long Shot'', ''Booksmart (film), Booksmart'' and ''The Highwaymen (film), The Highwaymen''. TV series that previewed included FX (TV channel), FX’s ''What We Do in the Shadows (TV series), What We Do in the Shadows'', Hulu’s ''Shrill (TV series), Shrill'' and Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN’s ''David Makes Man''. At the SXSW Gaming Awards (held March 16), the award for Game of the Year went to ''God of War (2018 video game), God of War.'' Major performers for SXSW Music included Edie Brickell & New Bohemians (their first-ever appearance at SXSW). Winners of the 2019 SXSW Pitch event, in which emerging startups pitch to potential investors, included Derq, Pathway and ENZO Tyres. The “Best In Show" winner was Nebula Genomics; the “Best Bootstrap" award went to TwentyTables and the “Best Speed Pitch” went to Xplosion Tech. Some of the first forums of the 2020 United States presidential election, 2020 presidential race took place at SXSW, with Democratic Party (United States), Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Delaney (Maryland politician), John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang all making appearances at the festival (though some had not yet announced their candidacy at the time). Other scheduled guest speakers included politicians Mazie Hirono and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; musicians David Byrne and Wyclef Jean; actors and comedians Aidy Bryant, Kathy Griffin, Ethan Hawke, Trevor Noah and Zoe Saldana; businessmen Tim Ferriss, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Guy Kawasaki; and others including Priscilla Chan,
Neil Gaiman Neil Richard MacKinnon GaimanBorn as Neil Richard Gaiman, with "MacKinnon" added on the occasion of his marriage to Amanda Palmer. (; born Neil Richard Gaiman, 10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graph ...
, Valerie Jarrett, Bill Nye,
Robert Rodriguez Robert Anthony Rodriguez (; born June 20, 1968) is an American filmmaker Filmmaking (or, in any context, film production) is the process by which a film is made. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages including an initia ...

Robert Rodriguez
and Maria Shriver. To promote the final season of ''Game of Thrones'', HBO organized a blood donation, blood drive with the American Red Cross titled "Bleed for the Throne" which included actors in costumes similar to those on the series. To promote the Amazon Prime original limited series ''Good Omens (TV series), Good Omens'', a brand activation experience called "Garden of Earthly Delights" was installed in downtown Austin.


2020s


2020

South by Southwest 2020 was scheduled to run from March 13 to 22, but was officially canceled on March 6 due to the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple or worldwide, affecting a substantial numbe ...

COVID-19 pandemic
, the result of an order by the city of Austin. The city's Mayor Steve Adler (politician), Steve Adler announced the cancellation of the 2020 SXSW and also declared a local disaster area. In the month prior to the conference, SXSW organizers had resisted calls to cancel the conference. On February 28, a spokesperson said: However, in the run up to the conference, numerous companies and organizations began canceling their SXSW attendance, including
Twitter Twitter is an American microblogging Microblogging is an online Broadcasting, broadcast medium that exists as a specific form of blogging. A micro-blog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actu ...

Twitter
,
Facebook Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...

Facebook
, Vevo, Intel,
Mashable Mashable is an international entertainment, culture, tech, science and social good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemolog ...

Mashable
, Universal Music Group, Amazon (company), Amazon, ''Entertainment Weekly'', TikTok, SAP SE, SAP, Netflix, Apple Inc., Apple, Indeed, WarnerMedia, ''The Washington Post'', and IBM. Additionally, many individual attendees, headliners and speakers had decided not to attend, including keynote speaker Tim Ferriss and artists such as the Beastie Boys, Ozzy Osbourne and Trent Reznor. An online petition was started that called for SXSW 2020 to be canceled due to health concerns; by the time of the cancellation, it exceeded 50,000 signatures. SXSW organizers said that they were "devastated" by the cancellation, stating that, "'The show must go on' is in our DNA." They wrote that they were attempting to reschedule the event, and were at the same time working to create an online SXSW for 2020. SXSW co-founder Nick Barbaro said the organization did not have cancellation insurance relating to a disease pandemic or triggered by the city declaring a “local state of disaster.” Various unofficial SXSW events, as well as “alternative” SXSW events, did occur, in an attempt to help local workers and businesses who would be hurt most by the cancellation. The Austin Community Foundation also launched a "Stand with Austin Fund" for donations to "individuals and small businesses most negatively impacted by the cancellation of SXSW and least able to recover on their own." On March 13, 2020, festival organizers announced that they would proceed with juried and special awards, with judges viewing submissions online. On March 24, the winners of the 2020 SXSW Gaming Awards were announced on the SXSW website, and the honorees recorded acceptance messages for the SXSW YouTube channel and website. ''Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice'' was awarded Video Game of the Year. On April 2, SXSW announced a joint venture with Amazon Prime Video to launch a film festival collection. Filmmakers scheduled to screen films at SXSW were given the option to have their films play exclusively, and for free, on Prime Video in the U.S. for a 10-day "virtual film festival". In May, SXSW organizers announced "SXSW Sessions Online," a weekly series of online discussions to run through June, with some of the previously announced guest speakers; each video session was streamed online with Q&A portions made available initially to those originally registered for the festival. All sessions were posted afterwards on the SXSW YouTube channel.


2021

A virtual SXSW ran from March 16 to 20. Films and miniseries that premiered at SXSW include ''Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil'', ''Hysterical (2021 film), Hysterical'', ''Jakob's Wife'', ''Violet (2021 film), Violet'', ''Dear Mr. Brody'', ''Here Before (film), Here Before'', ''The Fallout (film), The Fallout'', ''The Lost Sons'', ''Introducing, Selma Blair'', ''Lily Topples the World'', ''Not Going Quietly'', ''The Return: Life After ISIS'', ''Fruits of Labor'' and ''United States vs. Reality Winner''. Featured speakers included Samantha Bee, Richard Branson, Chiquis Rivera, Tim Ellis (engineer), Tim Ellis, Laurieann Gibson, Taraji P. Henson, Rana el Kaliouby,
Matthew McConaughey Matthew David McConaughey (; born November 4, 1969) is an American actor and producer. He first gained notice for his supporting performance in the coming-of-age comedy '' Dazed and Confused'' (1993), which was considered by many to be his bre ...

Matthew McConaughey
, Adriene Mishler, and Alexi Pappas. Keynote addresses were given by Stacey Abrams, Pete Buttigieg and Willie Nelson.


2022

Organizers of SXSW intend to hold an in person event in 2022.


Economic impact

SXSW is the highest revenue-producing event outside of athletic and other events associated with The University of Texas at Austin for the Austin economy, with an estimated economic impact of $190.3 million in 2012 increasing to $218 million in 2013, $315 million in 2014, $317 million in 2015, and $325 million in 2016. (In comparison, Super Bowl LI brought a $347 million economic impact to the Houston economy and the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, 2017 Final Four brought a $324 million economic impact to the economy of Phoenix, Arizona.) Additionally, demand for hotel rooms in the Austin area continued to outstrip supply, pushing average nightly room rates up to an all-time high of $350 in 2016, a 60 percent increase over the average room rate seen during 2011's edition of SXSW. The average SXSW registrant also stayed in Austin longer in 2016, spending an average of 5.2 nights, up from 4.9 nights in 2015.


Criticism

The growth of the festival has brought concerns about violence, crowd control, and safety. The 2014 drunk-driving incident prompted discussion about whether the festival had grown too large and raucous. The organizers of the festival—SXSW Holdings LLC and SXSW Holdings Inc.—were sued by families of the four victims. In May 2014, partially motivated by the 2014 crash, Austin's Urban Transportation Commission announced that it was seeking to enhance safety at the festival, with an initial focus on implementing transportation measures to resolve issues linked to the festival. The Austin Music Commission also met to discuss music venues and sound problems linked to the festival. The city voted to limit the number of special events which would be approved to 114, a 32 percent decrease from the number of approved events during the 2014 festival. In 2013, NPR writer Andrea Swensson wrote that she had decided to stop attending the festival, writing, "I can't help but feel that it has strayed far away from its original premise as a grassroots gathering place for new, undiscovered talent and increasingly feels like a big ol' Times Square billboard-sized commercial." In October 2015, SXSW cancelled two video game panels ("#SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community" and "Level Up: Overcoming Harassment In Games") scheduled for the 2016 festival due to threats of violence made to the festival hosting the sessions. In response to the cancellations, Buzzfeed and Vox Media made statements saying they would pull out of the festival if the two panels weren't reinstated. Organizers then apologized for the cancellations. In lieu of a panel, South by Southwest hosted a daylong "online harassment summit" on March 12, 2016.


In popular culture

* Comedian and actor Fred Armisen began his comic career with the short film ''Fred Armisen's Guide to Music and SXSW'', released in 1998, in which he poses as various characters, asking silly questions of musicians and other attendees at that year's SXSW Music Conference. * SXSW was featured during the 2005 season of MTV's ''The Real World: Austin, The Real World''. Cast members were tasked with shooting and editing their own documentary on the music festival. *Comedy duo and band Flight of the Conchords performed at the 2006 SXSW Music Festival, during which time they also recorded a documentary titled ''Flight of the Conchords: A Texan Odyssey'', which aired on New Zealand's TV3 (New Zealand), TV3 in late 2006. * The 2011 documentary ''Winning America'' is about a US tour of Canadian band Said the Whale that culminates in that year's SXSW Music Festival. * In the 2014 British film ''Frank (film), Frank'', an experimental band (led by the title character) is booked to play a show at the SXSW Music Festival, but the gig leads to the band's breakup. * In the 2019 anime ''Carole & Tuesday'', the titular duo is booked to perform at the SXSW Music Festival.


Similar festivals

The creators of South by Southwest co-created two similar festivals in 1995: North by Northwest (NXNW) in
Portland, Oregon Portland (, ) is the list of cities in Oregon, largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Oregon, and the county seat, seat of Multnomah County, Oregon, Multnomah County. It is a major port in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacif ...

Portland, Oregon
(co-founded by the ''Willamette Week''), and
North by Northeast North by Northeast (or NXNE) is an annual music and arts festival held each June in Toronto Toronto is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 201 ...
(NXNE) in
Toronto Toronto (, ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016 in 2016, it is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, most p ...

Toronto
(co-founded by ''Now (newspaper), Now''). North by Northwest ended in 2001, and was replaced by MusicfestNW (MFNW), an event run entirely by the ''Willamette Week''. It was joined by TechfestNW, a technology conference, in 2012. From 2006 to 2010, SXSW organizers also ran West by Southwest (WXSW) in
Tucson, Arizona Tucson (; es, Tucsón; O'odham The O'odham peoples, including the Tohono O'odham, the Pima Pima or PIMA may refer to: Places * Pima, Arizona, a town in Graham County * Pima County, Arizona * Pima Canyon, in the Santa Catalina Mountains * Pim ...
, a music festival which occurred directly before South by Southwest and mostly featured bands that were also booked for SXSW. Other active festivals inspired by SXSW include the following: * Web Summit – Lisbon, Portugal * Live at Heart – Örebro, Sweden * The Goa Project – Goa, India * The Great Escape Festival – Brighton, England * Tech Open Air (TOA) – Berlin * XOXO (festival), XOXO –
Portland, Oregon Portland (, ) is the list of cities in Oregon, largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Oregon, and the county seat, seat of Multnomah County, Oregon, Multnomah County. It is a major port in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacif ...

Portland, Oregon
Festivals inspired by SXSW that are no longer running include: * 35 Denton (originally known as "North by 35" or "NX35", then "35 Conferette") – Denton, Texas (2009–2016) * C2SV (originally known as "SVSX") – San Jose, California (2012–2016) * Incubate (festival), Incubate (originally known as "ZXZW") – Tilburg, Netherlands (2005–2016) * MidPoint Music Festival (MPMF) – Cincinnati, Ohio (2001–2017) * MoSo – Saskatoon, Canada (2011–2016) * North by North Western (NXNW) - Wigan, England (2007-2009) * So What?! Music Fest (originally known as "South by So What?!") – Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex (2006–2017) * Sounds by South Bend (originally known as "South by South Bend") – South Bend, Indiana (2013–2015) * South by Due East – Houston, Texas (2003-2019) * Yes and Yes Yes (YXYY) (originally known as "Yes by Yes Yes") – Palm Springs, California (2013–2017) Festivals inspired by South by Southwest have been collectively nicknamed "four-letter festivals". ''Metro Silicon Valley'', which founded C2SV, wrote in 2013 that such festivals were important revenue sources for the alternative newspaper, alternative weekly newspapers that founded them. On October 3, 2016, a one-day festival, called "South by South Lawn" (SXSL), was held at the White House; it was a collaboration between SXSW, US President Barack Obama, and the American Film Institute.


References


External links

* {{Music venues of Texas Conferences in the United States Film festivals in Austin, Texas Annual events in Texas Music festivals in Texas March events Music conferences Electronic music festivals in the United States Rock festivals in the United States Computer conferences Technology conferences Music festivals established in 1987 Film festivals established in 1987 1987 establishments in Texas Festivals in Austin, Texas