In a of couple days, the 30th annual South by Southwest Conference & Festival (SXSW) will be coming to an end. 30 years of “the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies,” followed by thought-provoking conversations and continuing ideas, only to be surpassed by the 31st festival the following year.


Photo Credit: Digiday


South by Southwest, commonly referred to as SXSW, is hosted in Austin, Texas and is “the premier destination for discovery.” In fact, it’s the number one economic source for the city, year after year. Festivals and conferences in the category of film, music and interactive arenas take place among thousands of audience members. “From the unsigned to the iconic,” SXSW hosts an eclectic range of musicians to connect and inspire attendees, from the musicians to the professionals to the fans themselves. Besides the performances, the festival boasts some panels, discussions and interviews.


Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 1.24.39 PMPhoto Credit: SXSW Instagram


Some notable artists from years past include the likes of Quentin Tarantino (1997), Rufus Wainwright (1998), Billy Idol (2005) and Yoko Ono (2011). Even artists who’d never been heard of before had their big debut and breakout at SXSW. John Mayer’s performance in 2011, for instance, got him picked up by Aware Records. In 2001, it was The Strokes, and Mike Posner the year before. The SXSW Festival serves as a place for aspiring, influential artists to get noticed, or for those looking to get inspired.


Photo Credit: DJ Kristin Kontrol at the opening night party, Steve Rogers/Getty Images via SXSW


This year, SXSW brought some interesting performances to its lineup. Among the talent has been Cosmo Sheldrake, Don’t Think Twice by Mike Birbiglia, CHVRCHES and Santigold. First Lady Michelle Obama was the opening keynote speaker.

This year’s festival also saw the world premiere of several movies. Some are indie films that were celebrated by critics, such as the SXSW Documentary Feature Grand Jury winner, Tower, and a film about the life and career of comedy legend Robert Klein, Robert Klein Still Can’t Stop His Leg. Others have been anticipated for years, such as the cult classic Pee-wee Herman in his first big adventure movie since 1988 in Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.

Just as the critics have predicted, SXSW delivers quality performances and ongoing conversations every year. The crowd gets bigger and the talent finds a way to get even more artistic. And, as SXSW puts it, the event “continues to spark new ideas and carve the path for the future of each ever-evolving field, long after the events’ conclusion.” Until next year, South by Southwest.

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