Wavemaker @SXSWi 2018
FUN FACT: In 1987, the first year of the conference, there were 700 attendees. In 1994, there were 4,550 registrants, with 300 of those attending the first Film and Multimedia Conference. In 2017, there were 167,800 participants for the music festival, 70,574 for film, and 70,696 for the unified conference.
A GLOBAL STAGE FOR INNOVATION
The annual SXSW Interactive Festival (SXSWi) is an exciting incubator of creativity featuring the best and brightest minds, companies, technologies, and emerging startups from around the world and across industries. Designed to spark conversation of what’s next, the power of SXSWi rests in the serendipity of experiences: you never know who you’ll run into between sessions and within brand activations, or what kind of inspiration you will find from people outside of your industry, to spark new connections. A fascinating aspect of SXSW is that it constantly works to keep pace with the topics driving conversation and culture, making every year a little bit different. This year, conference tracks ranged in topics from Intelligent Future and the role of Brands to Experiential Storytelling, Female Empowerment, and Government Policies, among others. It is important to note that SXSW and its wide array of keynotes, experiences and session formats is designed to provoke, educate, and empower action. Some of this year’s speakers included former presidential nominee Sen. Bernie Sanders, philanthropist Melinda Gates, mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and singer Keith Urban, among many others. Also among the additions this year was Cities Summit, an opportunity for civic leaders, creative citizens, and urbanists to connect and create more equitable, resilient, and livable cities. We also loved this year’s increased operational efficiency: for those who have previously spent hours in line for a panel or session, only to be denied entrance because it was full, everyone appreciated the new Red/Yellow/Green indicators in the “SXSW Go” app and SXSW.com website telling you whether a panel room was full or not.