If you’ve even heard of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival, you are likely familiar with their reputation as one of the top destinations for popular and emerging musicians.  What most people don’t know is that SXSW is not exclusively about music. The festival is actually 3 festivals rolled into one: SXSW Music, SXSW Film, and SXSW Interactive.

SXSW Music & Film: In Case You Were Curious

Each year draws thousands of participants, performers, presenters, investors, and industry moguls to the 10 day festival.

In 2012 the SXSW Music festival hosted over 2,200 new artists, indie favorites, and big name bands from 49 countries performing in over 100 venues around the city. Founded in 1987, it is a music lover’s mecca!

SXSW 2013

SXSW Film launched in 1994 and this year is screening well over 200 feature length and short films from both amateurs and celebrities.  Films are judged and awarded in a variety of categories each year.

Both festivals also host meet-ups and workshops for all the participants. These sessions provide them with information on everything they could possibly want to know about how to navigate the current trends in the industry here in the U.S. as well as globally.

SXSW Interactive: Where You and Your Start-Up Want To Be

The 4-day interactive portion of the festival also launched in 1994 and began as SXSW Multimedia. It has since grown to include SXSW Gaming, SXSW Accelerator, and Startup Village.

SXSW Interactive

This year SXSW Accelerator hosts 48 companies that will demonstrate their products and emerging technology in web designsocial media, mobile applications, and more. Winners will be selected but more importantly, these innovative companies are developing the future of all things digital and interactive.

Startup Village brings together current and future trend setters to teach, learn, and grow their ideas into the next big thing. Workshops, panels, and presentations cover a wide range of topics including marketing, raising start-up capital, social media navigation, and analyzing the successes or failures of other well-known start-ups.  People are starting to take notice of this annual collaboration and for 2013 one of the hot topics is Shaqille O’Neal’s #PitchShaq project.

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In today’s fast-moving social and economic climate it is important to be aware of where things are headed and SXSW makes that just a bit easier and WAY more fun.  Building anything from the ground up is hard work and your start-up is no exception.  However, any hard work can be made easier if you are able to find and utilize the best resources available.

Jamie Bates