Beginning of the End for SxSW?
If you have never been to the conference before, the entire experience happens over the course of nine days and is split into three focuses: Music, Film and Interactive. It started out as a conference focused on indie musicians, filmmakers and startup companies that were innovating in different ways.
Sx started 27 years ago – we could not believe our eyes when we read that in our research – and was tiny for a long time. Managing Director, Roland Swenson, remembers a time when having 150 people show up was a good thing. However, as the technology gold rush grew fiercer so did attendance.
Today, the Sx we all know and love draws over 70,000 people from all walks and industries – 30,000 of which participate in Interactive alone. That’s just insane… and it seems like the city of Austin might be fed up.
Our client, PayPal has several marketing events happening in Austin during the conference, so the Factory 360 team was in attendance. Founder, Michael Fernandez was quoted saying that not only is the traffic horrendous, but attendees could even catch keynote speakers. He says, “There are overflow rooms for the overflow rooms.”
Sounds like a crazy experience to us!
Even Brooke Hammerling had an interesting run-in with a half-naked man when she walked into her (*WAY overpriced) hotel room last week. Needless to say, we hear Brooke stayed elsewhere… and who can blame her?
So, what do you think? Is this the beginning of the end for SxSW? We hope not, but they should possibly think about moving the show to a bigger venue (aka, city). Just a thought.