The South by Southwest (SXSW) is underway in Austin, Texas and is set to last until March 17, 2019. Several Hamburg-based companies, initiatives and start-ups are attending the fair with over 75,000 expected delegates from 102 countries and more than 2,000 events. Navigating this labyrinth is by no means easy. Hamburg News answers the FAQs below:
Why and for whom is SXSW important?
Whether South by Southwest, South by or simply SXSW, the leading digital and creative festival in south Texas has many names. The festival is considered one of the most important annual meetings for the digital creative sector. This mega-event is a launching pad for start-ups. This is where Twitter celebrated its breakthrough in 2007. The latest and upcoming trends are being presented and debated during a wealth of conferences and events. SXSW brings together the world’s creative people who are keen to make contacts and learn from others.
Discoveries at SXSW?
The SXSW combines festivals, conferences and exhibitions on music, film and interactive topics. A total of 37 different theme tracks are on offer including the Digital Conference (interactive), which alone comprises ten tracks – from Blockchain & Cryptocurrency to Future Workplace to Health & Medtech. Artificial intelligence, cross reality and blockchain technology are likely to be the dominant trends at SXSW this year. The Austin Convention Center and surrounding locations are the main venues while all of downtown Austin has become a networking hotspot for the duration of festival.
How long has the event been in existence?
SXSW was founded in 1986 as the Conference for Music to present the local creative and music scene in Austin, Texas, to a broad public. The event grew steadily until 1994, when film and interactive were added to the agenda and became key parts of the festival – until today. The 32nd SXSW kick-starts in March 2019.
What is Hamburg doing at the SXSW?
The German presentation at South by Southwest is the biggest by Germany’s cultural and creative industry abroad. Hamburg is presenting itself as an innovative, future-orientated business centre and offers members of the delegation a platform to present their companies. The Interessengemeinschaft Hamburger Musikwirtschaft (IHM), and the Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg Marketing and Hamburg Invest’s Startup Unit are executing Hamburg’s presentation in Austin. The “Reeperbahn Hamburgers” opposite the Convention Center is a meeting place for dining, celebrating and networking. Hamburg TexConnect, a mix of Hamburg-based corporate representatives, investors, journalists and reporters meet here as well as U.S. multipliers and the Digital Media Woman Day also took place here. A large Hanseatic delegation including start-ups, established companies, initiatives as well as experts are in Austin this year.
How do you get your bearings at SXSW?
The absolute insider tip is: “Preparation is everything”. Sanja Stankovic, co-founder of Hamburg Startups, and an expert on SXSW, recommends creating an advance timetable with a maximum of two must-see events per day. This eases exploration and getting around is simpler. Always have a charged mobile phone on hand with the SXSW app as a personal event guide. Your other must-haves are sunscreen, sunglasses and comfortable walking shoes!