Posts Tagged: ‘South by Southwest’

Monday’s TechStuff episode was all about South by Southwest (or SXSW), an enormous, chaotic and amazing conference that the city of Austin hosts each year. The conference’s original focus was on music. Austin is known as a live music town and has an abundance of bars, restaurants and clubs with dedicated stages for music acts. It was a natural fit for Austin to host a week-long music event. Since 1987, bands from around the world have converged on Austin to play music, hang out with fans and eat their weight in BBQ. And as waistlines have grown, so too has the conference.

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Last weekend, I flew out to Austin, Texas to hang out at South by Southwest (aka SXSW). I had a great guide help me out: Brian Brushwood, extreme magician and tech guru. One of the many things Brian had on his schedule was to cover the opening of a special Apple store in downtown Austin for the debut of the iPad 2. Austin has two Apple retail stores already but neither are close to the action at South by Southwest. Apple decided to convert some retail space into a temporary Apple store to cater to the hardcore SXSW base. It paid off.

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Austin, Texas is known for its live music — the city calls itself the live music capital of the world. The city’s unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” a phrase promoted by some of the quirky small businesses in the area. One private company in Austin has gone above and beyond to bring focus on the city: SXSW, Inc. Every year, the company produces a huge event that encompasses music, film and interactive exhibits, events and panel discussions called South by Southwest. And the party grows larger every year.

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ey, if you’re in Austin, Texas, this weekend, you need to drop in on the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSWi), which starts today. Editor-in-Chief Conal Byrne will be participating in a couple of panels over the weekend, and you should definitely check those out. Also? If you see him, call him “chief.” He loves that.

If you can’t be in Austin, then you’re missing out, speaking as someone who’s attended SXSW. It’s a whole lot of fun — lots of the great minds of music, filmmaking and tech are going to be there. If you’re like me and unable to participate this year, there’s a live feed of the show, thanks to Ustream.TV.

You know, SXSW started as a music festival only, way back in 1987. Organizers started small — there were only 700 people registered that year. Now they’re pushing 12,000.

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