Up until two weeks ago, I had not planned on going to South by Southwest (SXSW). All of a sudden, an opportunity to go fell in my lap, and, the next thing I knew, I had a ticket and was frantically asking around for places to stay.
Let me give you some background on SXSW. It’s a huge conference and festival that runs in Austin, Texas in March each year. The first five days are dedicated to the Interactive Festival, which features presentations on emerging technology, networking events, a trade show, and showcases of the best new digital innovations the international community has to offer. The second five days see the Film Conference & Festival roll into town to celebrate indie film at its best. Finally, the last 5 days are all about the music. The SXSW Music and Media Conference is where the world’s music industry converges for one big ol’ celebration.
This is the 27th anniversary of the conference where thousands of registrants descend upon the Austin Convention Center to visit the trade show, listen to panel discussions, and gain insight from the keynote speakers. In addition to the official Convention Center stuff, the entire city transforms into a music festvial. There are literally hundreds of stages featuring thousands of acts who play pretty much around the clock at showcases and parties. It is one non-stop musical party extravaganza. Check out the mind blowing stats from last year HERE.
So that in a nutshell is SXSW. If I sound like I know what I am talking about, I actually don’t because I have never been there before. The decision to go was made very quickly and at the very last minute. I was at my internship at Minty Fresh (a great record label in Chicago) and was talking with Anthony Musiala, one of the guys that runs the company. He was telling me how great SXSW was and how it would be a great way to finish out grad school. I was telling him how I was not sure if I had time to go and that the badges and flights were really expensive. He told me I did not need a badge and could get a lot out of the experience without one. I ended up looking up flights and they were actually cheap. Granted, I had to leave at 6am and fly back at 9pm, but still! Before I knew it, I had booked a ticket and began the hunt for accommodation (a notoriously difficult task at SXSW). By the time you read this, I will be in Austin in midst of it all. I just hope I have found a place to crash!