Austin, Texas is the venue for one of the tech festivals of the year.
Yup, if you are not in Austin right now, and you love tech, music, films and culture, you should feel sad.
South by Southwest, to give it its full name, began in 1987, and it has pretty much got bigger every year since.
This weekend gone was “Interactive weekend”, which attracted the likes of Ridley Scott, plugging a new instalment of the Aliens franchise, as well as ex-Vice President Joe Biden, who was discussing the work of his charitable foundation the Biden Foundation, which helps us battle cancer.
Over the course of the festival, which runs from 10th March to the 19th, (yep, Americans do things bigger than us Europeans), there are no fewer than 24 conference tracks to accompany the 4 festivals, that’s Interactive, Film, Music and Comedy.
And then there’s the exhibitions, all 10 of them, including a trade show that runs until Tuesday at the Austin Convention Center, with its own Pitch stage, VR and AR experiences and an International Pavilion, “Flatstock”, a celebration of poster artist’s courtesy of the American Poster Institute, and the SXSW Social Good Hub – at Techspace Austin – “exploring the future of social impact through the lens of design, policy and communications.”
You have to have networking at a major tech festival, right? Right, and SXSW does not disappoint; there are 6 of them – and that’s just the planned ones! It’s the Film Intermission Party tonight, at the Palm Door – 1000 – 100am. And the closing party features “massive musical guests that will keep you rocking all night long”.
And the big news so far? Payments and fintech startup CNote, from Oakland, California, won the Super Accelerator Pitch Competition – the firm says they can promise a 40x better return on your savings, with a 100% social impact.
There’s been a Giorgio Armani chatbot, a Music Startup Spotlight – part of the Startup Village, where VCs and entrepreneurs get to mingle like its 1999 – without the bubble bursting, obviously.
But if you missed out on SXSW this year, don’t despair – it may be one of the most thrilling cultural melting pots and incubator of ideas happening anywhere, at any time, but a second festival, SXSW V2V, which took place in Las Vegas for 3 consecutive years has decided to leave Nevada, and is currently considering other venues and opportunities.
Has to be Europe – Here East, anyone?