A South by Summary

South by Southwest is an annual music, film and interactive conference that draws tens of thousands of people to Austin, Texas each year! This year, the conference began on March 7th and will last until March 16th. I had the chance to attend the South by Southwest Interactive Festival which was from March 7th to 11th.  Although I wasn’t in Austin for the whole conference, I’m happy to say that I feel like I got a preview of each section of South by Southwest!

I used Hertz NeverLost to Explore Austin while in town for SXSW

I used Hertz NeverLost to Explore Austin while in town for SXSW


“South by Southwest (SXSW) Music and Media Conference, the world’s leading music industry event, offers attendees the opportunity to explore the future of the music industry during the day at panels, talks, the Trade Show, Music Gear Expo and other conference activities at the Austin Convention Center. At night, the absolute best mix of musical performances from over 2,200 regional, national and international acts take place at the SXSW Music Festival. Altogether, SXSW presents unmatched networking opportunities, career-building conference programming and over 100 stages of music for showcasing bands and conference attendees. SXSW Music is now in its 28th year.”

Although I left Austin on the day that the Music section was starting, I did get to check out a few good acts while I was in town. While I’m sure that all of the bigger acts who are scheduled to perform during Music week will be great, I don’t think everyone realizes that there are actually musical performances all week long.

The Fyrebash sponsored by Livefyre was held at the Speakeasy venue and featured performances from Robert DeLongStrange Talk, DJ Melyss and Zeale Rapz. While I didn’t get to see these performances myself, one of my friends did and made me a bit jealous that I wasn’t there! See the pictures below that my friend, Nadia Dunkerton, took while at the Fyrebash. She said she had a great time!

The acts I did get to see for myself included AraabMuzikJust Blaze, and a few others, all who played at the IHEARTCOMIX INTERACTIVE PARTY, which was held at the Empire Control Room & Garage. The show was fantastic!!

I’m so glad I got a chance to catch some great sounds while I was at the conference!


“Every March, creatives of all stripes gather in Austin to witness, inspire, and share the visions that will galvanize the filmmakers and ideas of tomorrow. The SXSW® Film Conference & Festival champions the vitality, innovation and opportunity that drive entertainment and media, and boldly tackles the evolution of all aspects of “film” today, down to its very definition.”

One of the cool things about SXSW is how each creative industry (music, film, and interactive) can all be woven into each other. Since the Interactive and Film sections were both going on while I was in Austin, I was able to check out a couple of events where there were both Interactive and Film attendees. Check out the Interactive + Film events that happened during SXSW:

  • Featured Sessions in Ballroom D – “Level 4 of the Austin Convention Center is where you can find Ballroom D, host to high-profile talks from Interactive and Film luminaries, including a handful of SXsports sessions. See the SXSW Schedule for the full list of Featured Sessions in Ballroom D.”
  • The Day Stage in Ballroom G  – “With special programming from both the Film and Interactive conferences, the Day Stage in Ballroom G (on Level 4 of the Austin Convention Center) is the best place to catch enlightening interviews, mind-bending workshops, inspiring book readings and intriguing film trailers all in one location.”
  • The Digital Domain – “SXSW Film presents the latest web series, interactive documentaries, rich media projects, data visualizations, web-generated content and much more. The Digital Domain runs Saturday, March 8 through Tuesday, March 11 in the Austin Suite of the Austin Convention Center.”
  • Next Generation Content and Distribution in Room 18ABCD – “Running Friday, March 7 through Tuesday, March 11, Room 18ABCD in the Austin Convention Center contains sessions that showcase the ever-increasing convergence between the Film, Interactive and Music industries with a special focus on the latest content and distribution technologies.”
  • New for 2014: SXsports Joins the Film & Interactive Lineup – “This sports-focused convergence track takes place Friday, March 7 through Sunday, March 9 at The Driskill Hotel (with some featured sessions in 18ABCD & Ballroom D of the Austin Convention Center). Incorporating film screenings, panel elements and networking events, SXsports touches on all aspects of sports through the SXSW lens of cultural impact, entertainment and innovation.”

The SXsports theme was just added this year and it seemed really neat! According to Rebecca Feferman, Head of Film Media Relations & Programmer, “The world of sports truly hits the sweet spot of SXSW, the vital intersection of entertainment and technology, and we intend to approach it with the same forward-thinking and culturally relevant perspective we shine on all of our events.”

With my Interactive badge, I was able to attend the SXsports Kick-Off Reception and I even came across a film venue for movie screenings!

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For more highlights on where you can interact with other badge types, check out: The Music, Film, and Interactive Industries Converge at SXSW.


Now, for the whole reason I went to South by Southwest…the Interactive section!

“An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the 2014 event features five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to preview the technology of tomorrow today.”

Having the privilege to an Interactive badge is amazing because it allows you to gain access to some of the best panels and networking events. Even when you’re walking the streets from venue to venue, you come across a lot of interesting sights and new technology, not to mention spots to relax and recharge in-between sessions.

My SXSW Interactive days included some of the following activities (not all are listed) :

and so much more!

Check out some of my South by adventures below!

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I had such a great time at the conference and learned so much! Check out my summary of South by Southwest Interactive:

  • Privacy and surveillance was a huge theme this year!
  • The most popular speaker was Edward Snowden.
  • Sometimes people lose face when they speak. For example, people were excited to here Julian Assange present but then had a lot of negative comments afterwards.
  • The most retweeted quote during SXSWI was by @WikiLeaks: “#Assange: It became clear to me that one of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice. http://www.texastribune.org/2014/03/08/livestream-julian-assange-at-sxsw/ … #sxsw.”
  • A popular breakout startup was Omlet, which is a “fun and safe way to connect with friends using the widest range of tools for self expression while still giving you the piece of mind that your data will never be monetized or sold for money.”
  • Startup stunts are also very popular. For example, during SXSW you tend to see people doing crazy things on the streets to capture people’s attention. The most eye-catching this year was HipChat. I also found a Star Wars character roaming the streets promoting an app called Pixmarx, which I think could be useful!
  • There was a candy made by Chefjet which used 3d printing. See “At SXSW, Attendees Stuff Themselves with 3-D Printed Food” for more info on that!
  • Grumpy Cat was still one of the most talked about subjects.
  • The company that became the most unpopular during SXSW was Uber because people had very negative comments regarding pricing.
  • The most popular food was a milk and cookie shot.
  • The hottest party was the Mash Bash party.
  • Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion) was the most popular music act talked about during Interactive, followed closely by A-Trak and DJ Shadow.

*This information was all collected from the Eye of The Beholder event that I attended and their info was largely based on Twitter data.

I had a great time at the South by Southwest conference and similarly to last year, was overwhelmed with information! Not in a bad way though!

Hopefully I get a chance to go back. Enjoy the rest of the conference if you’re still in ATX!

Melissa Woodring 🙂


2 comments on “A South by Summary

  1. amerikansk rulett
    May 6, 2014 at 5:52 am #

    Generally I do not read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do
    so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, very great post.

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