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South By Southwest Music Festival (SXSW)

Updated on July 24, 2014
SXSW music scene is known worldwide
SXSW music scene is known worldwide

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About SXSW

That time of year is upon us again; when music, independent films and the latest technology converge to take over Austin for the week. This is the time of year when millions come to the city just for a glimpse of their favorite artists, a look at upcoming filmmakers and a chance to hear famous speakers.

This year the festival will take place from March 8th through the 17th and the city is already making preparations for SXSW.


SXSW Inc. started the festival in 1987 with the sole purpose of introducing the latest in music, films and the newest technology to the public. Over two decades later it is still going strong, brining millions to the city every year for the event.

In 1993 the festival was moved to the Austin Convention Center although you'll find many events throughout the city in bars, churches, parks, nightclubs and other venues.

More than 2000 acts perform on any given day during the festival. Some big names that have attended the festival in the past are 50 Cent, The Black Keys, Johnny Cash, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Metallica, Duran Duran, Katy Perry, R.E.M., Muse and many, many more. This year is shaping up to be the same.

SXSW has been the inspiration of other festivals throughout the country such as NXNE in Denton, TX, NXNW in Portland, OR, WXSW in Arizona and others created with the same goals in mind.

"Language Room" will be at SXSW 2013

2013 SXSW

One of the biggest names coming to Austin this year as an interactive speaker is Shaquille O'Neal who will be speaking at SXSW on Monday, March 11th at 701 West Riverside Dr, The Long Center for the Performing Arts and he will be speaking on social media.

Other interactive keynote speakers this year will include Elon Musk of SpaceX, Tina Roth Eisenberg, Julie Uhrman of OUYA and Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal just to name a few.

You will find everything in music from Country to R&B to Rock to Gospel to Punk to Bluegrass and that's only the tip of the musical iceberg coming to Austin in March.

Some muscial talents coming to SXSW this year includes Language Room (one of my favorite local bands), 360, 24-7, The 1975, AJ Croce, Brian Angel, Willie Moore, Allen Stone, Body Language, Striking Matches, The Relatives and many, many, many more.

Just as many filmmakers will converge on the city to showcase their film talents.

For a full SXSW schedule go here.

FYI: Different venues have different music events happening throughout the festival. Some events you have to purchase tickets in advance and others hold reservations. Food vendors galore line the streets so there is no shortage of food.

I think one of the locals put it best when she said:

"Overall, i think the best thing about SXSW is just the energy that takes over the city. Downtown (Austin) is just flooded with people from all over the world; all in one place to have a good time and hear some good music. I don't think there are many other cities where something like SXSW could exist. Austin's downtown is pretty unique. You can literally just walk down the street and pop into nearly any building and see a show. I have never once bought a wristband or pass to SXSW, but I have spent all day and night Wednesday through Sunday downtown seeing shows, eating great food and drinking with friends and random strangers for years. I can't wait for it to be march again!" ~ J

SXSW introduces new film artists every year
SXSW introduces new film artists every year

SXSW Trade Shows

SXSW isn't only known for their music and film scene, there are trade shows happening at the Austin Convention Center as well. This portion of the trade show happens in Exhibit Halls 3 and 4.

Trade show hours of operation, 11am-6pm, begin Sunday, March 10th and ends this year on Wednesday, March 13th from 11am-4pm.

Where is the Austin Convention Center?

A marker500 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78701 -
500 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701, USA
get directions

Austin Convention Center

Music Gear Expo

Also taking place at the Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5, is the Music Gear Expo. Beginning Thursday, March 14th and ending on Saturday, March 16th. Hours will be noon to 6pm the first two days and noon to 4pm the final day.

Other Things Happening at SXSW

There are other trade shows happening at SXSW to check out too! Flatstock, Gaming Expo and Job Market.

Towns Around Austin, Texas

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