South by Southwest Fast Facts

Here is a look at South by Southwest, a collection of music, film and interactive conferences and festivals held annu...

Posted: Feb. 28, 2018 2:15 PM
Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 2:15 PM

Here is a look at South by Southwest, a collection of music, film and interactive conferences and festivals held annually in Austin, Texas. It is nicknamed "South by" and abbreviated SXSW.

The 2018 event is scheduled for March 9-18.

Facts: The purpose of SXSW is to create an opportunity for "creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas."

SXSW Inc. also hosts SXSWedu, started in 2011 to focus on teaching and education, and SXSW Eco, kicked off in 2011 to address sustainability and environmental challenges.

Statistics: There were 700 attendees in 1987, the first year of the conference.

In 1994, there were 4,550 total registrants, with 300 of those attending the first Film and Multimedia Conference.

By 2017, attendance had grown to 167,800 participants for the music festival, 70,574 for film, and 70,696 for the unified conference.

The economic impact on the Austin economy from SXSW in 2017 was $348.6 million.

Timeline: 1986 - Louis Jay Meyers and Roland Swenson approach The Austin Chronicle's Louis Black and Nick Barbaro about organizing a music festival in Austin, Texas, similar to the New Music Seminar, a music convention in New York.

March 13-15, 1987 - The first South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival takes place in Austin, Texas, with approximately 700 registrants.

1993 - SXSW moves to the Austin Convention Center in downtown Austin, where it is currently held.

1994 - SXSW Film and Multimedia Conference is launched, joining the music segment.

1995 - SXSW Film and Multimedia splits into its own separate conference.

1999 - SXSW Multimedia is renamed SXSW Interactive.

2007 - Microblogging start-up Twitter becomes well-known at SXSW Interactive.

2009 - Social networking website Foursquare is launched at SXSW Interactive.

2010 - SXSW Interactive attendance exceeds SXSW Music for the first time; 14,251 Interactive registrants and 13,020 Music registrants.

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