South by Southwest Fast Facts

Posted at 12:53 PM, Nov 28, 2018
and last updated 2019-03-01 17:12:53-05

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.

March 8-17, 2019 – The South by Southwest conference and festivals are scheduled to take place.

The purpose of SXSW is to create an opportunity for “creative people to develop their careers by bringing together people from around the globe to meet, learn and share ideas.”

SXSW Inc. also hosts SXSWedu, started in 2011 to focus on teaching and education.

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.

In 2018, musical attendance was 161,000. Film festival attendance was 72,872. Conference (interactive, film, music and convergence) attendance was 75,098.

The economic impact on the Austin economy from SXSW in 2018 was $350.6 million.

1986 – Louis Jay Meyers and Roland Swenson approach the Austin Chronicle’s Louis Black and Nick Barbaro about organizing a music festival in Austin, similar to the New Music Seminar, a music convention in New York.

March 12-15, 1987 The first South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival takes place in Austin,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.

2017 – For the first time, SXSW is a unified event with 24 tracks across Interactive, Film, Music and Convergence, open to all badgeholders via primary and secondary access.