Maggie: For two weeks every March, South by Southwest, a music, film and interactive festival, hits the city of Austin, Texas. Restaurants, streets and pretty much any available building are taken over by people from all around the world. But why is all of this such a big deal? Let’s go find out.
South by Southwest started off as a music festival more than 25 years ago. Now, back then, there were only 172 musical acts. Well, fast forward to this year and there are more than 2,000 performances, nearly 2,000 interactive speakers, and more than 100 feature films. And now everyone from Lady Gaga to Jimmy Kimmel and Lil Wayne want to be a part of it.
South by Southwest continues to be known as the place for people from different backgrounds to come together, brainstorm and collaborate.
What makes South By so unique and so special?
Woman: You have music, you have movies, you have interactive. There is so much great energy.
Maggie: Creating the latest, greatest and biggest names in tech, film and music. And so far it has had a pretty good record. Hanson, John Mayor, The White Stripes all got big right here at South by Southwest. So who knows? They could be next! Foursquare, Twitter. Both can thank South by Southwest for their stardom as well. And being the first to find out what is next keeps everyone coming back.
Chris: This is, like, my fifth one.
Maggie: What? What makes you keep coming back year after year?
Chris: I live next to it, and there’s free stuff everywhere, and the techcess is just too much.
Maggie: Yeah, he said techcess. That is technology to excess. And that is exactly what we found on the trade show floor.
What am I looking at?
From a futuristic way to see computer data to innovations in space.
What’s up, Channel One News!
Man: It’s a great chance to feature new products and provide innovative ideas to big companies.
Maggie: One of the most buzzed about topics this year: online privacy and security. And two of the biggest and most controversial names were keynote speakers: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, which publishes classified information, and Edward Snowden.
Behind me, Edward Snowden is speaking live for the first time since the NSA scandal, when he released thousands of top-secret government documents. Now, because of this, he became a fugitive and can’t step foot in the United States. So, here at South by Southwest, they are interviewing him on a video conference.
South by Southwest wrapped up Sunday. And it just seems to keep getting bigger and bigger. But no matter what is new and hot next year, one thing about South by Southwest promises to be the same – the people.
Sarah: It lives up to its name. You know, keep Austin weird. So whatever, you know. Be weird as you can and you have a whole three weeks of celebrating it with all the other weird people that are here.
Maggie: With all these people here trying to catch a glimpse of what is next, South by Southwest generates a lot of money for the local Austin economy. Last year, it brought in nearly $220 million.
And if you guys want to see some more behind-the-scenes shots from South by Southwest, make sure to check out our page at ChannelOne.com.