South by Southwest, in full South by Southwest Music and Media Conference & Festival, also called SXSW, annual music, film, and interactive media conference held in mid-March in Austin, Texas, USA. The event started in 1987 and has continued to grow in both scope and size year after year. SXSW is an essential destination for global professionals, the annual event features sessions, music and comedy showcases, film screenings, exhibitions, professional development, and a variety of networking opportunities.
In 1994 the SXSW Film Festival and the SXSW Interactive Festival were added. The expanded festival, dubbed “SXSWeek,” is held in March and lasts 10 days. The film portion also presents workshops and discussion panels, as well as a juried festival that presents awards to films in such categories as documentary, music video, and experimental short. SXSW Interactive focuses on presentations and networking opportunities for technology professionals.
SXSW is operated by SXSW Ltd., which organizes seminars, trade shows, festivals and other events. In addition to the three main South by Southwest festivals, the company runs other workshops: SXSW EDU, a seminar on educational innovation in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. Previous seminars run by SXSW include SXSW Eco, a workshop focusing on social and environmental issues through the lens of technology, creativity and design held from 2011 to 2016; and SXSW V2V, a panel focused on innovative startups, which ran from 2013 to 2015. Previously, SXSW has produced the music festivals North by Northwest (NXNW), North by Northeast (NXNW), North by Northeast (NXNW), and North by Northeast (NXNW) NXNE) and West by Southwest (WXSW).
The conference grew over the years, and it quickly began to attract international attention. Organizers estimated that more than 12,000 attendees had seen some 2,000 musical acts on more than 80 stages in 2010. Private events and parties, sponsored by record labels, music bloggers, and radio stations, are held throughout Austin as showcases for specific artists. Conference goers also attend workshops and discussions, with topics ranging from band promotion to legal issues to artist talks. A trade show is held concurrently in the Austin Convention Center, and people use the opportunity to network and view new products and technology.
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