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FESTIVALS THE FREAKY FUNKY CARNIVAL/PLAYGROUND FOR CREATIVE INDUSTRY GROWNUPS, AKA SXSW® THERMAE BATH SPA

BY ALLIE SILVER

SXSW, 2014: BUTLER PARK CROWD. PHOTO BY TYE TRUITT

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fter finishing a most delicious blackened crawfish taco smothered in creamy dressing and hot sauce, one of Austin’s most renowned delicacies from Surf & Turf Po’ Boys, I sat down on the curb next to an old friend from Northwestern, an investment banker with a love for electronic music, who I hadn’t seen in years. At SXSW® 2014 I ran into friends and colleagues from nearly all walks of life, a friend who handles social media for the Clinton Foundation, a fellow film major who was one of the hottest breakout directors from Sundance 2013, band managers and music journalists I had met at a music conference in Greece two years ago. I felt like I was in a bizarre version of “This is Your Life.” Even a rented bicycle offers a random connection. SXSW® Cycles offers free bike rentals, essential for navigating back-to-back film screenings, lectures, barbecues and concerts. When I unlocked my bike, I noticed something pink in my basket, a plastic pink flower with a note attached: “Please upload a picture of you with the flower and then pass it on to someone else! #193project.” I instagrammed my flower picture and passed the flower on to a tie-dyed bystander named Roxy and headed out to the first music showcase of the night. No, this isn’t Burning Man, although it may sound like it. South by Southwest® (SXSW®) features three major conferences and festivals in

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Film, Interactive, and Music. The union of these three industries and technologies transform Austin, TX into a creative campus each year during the Ides of March. Focused on bringing together the most important professional forces, SXSW® is a field of magnetic and magical energy, a catalyst for future business, new technologies, and professional growth. The atmosphere is electric, with thousands of wild offbeat events happening all week long. Companies and brands have to figure out the cleverest ways to grab the attention of conference delegates in order to make their mark in an event filled with the cream of the creative crop. Each year SXSW® boasts thousands of official and unofficial events filling up every venue, recording studio, taco shop, coffee bar, and rickshaw (yes, rickshaw.) As much as you can study the schedule of official events ahead of time, I suggest creating a preliminary schedule but being open to random connections. Walk around alone, ask questions, if you see a listing for a lecture or a band with a strange name that piques your interest, go. Before you know it, you may be slinging back clove spiced vodka and watching a dance band from Curacao with some of the most important journalists from NPR. Even though it may seem foolish at first, do wait in line for free Subway “Flatizza” Pizzas, and strike up a conversation with your neighbor. The next moment you may be organizing a session of band photos for your

artist with one of Rolling Stone’s photographers. When invited over to a friend’s Airbnb rental for a drink before heading out for evening showcases, you just may end up sitting in a teepee in the middle of the living room of the International Community Manager of Airbnb, petting her Shih Tzu, named Tina Turner. Be spontaneous but be prepared. The Gold (Full access to Film and Interactive Conferences) and Platinum Passes (Film, Music and Interactive together) opens all doors to conference programming, showcases and screenings, the trade show, networking sessions and more, and will let you cut the line at the hottest showcases most are dying to get into. The full conference runs from March 13th-22nd, starting with Interactive (1317), then Film (13-21) and Music (17-22). Staying for the entire conference is an incredible and effective way to connect your business with the contacts that you didn’t even realize you needed to meet. However, if you have time and budget limitations, “Convergence Day” on March 17th is a new addition that will feature special programming for all Music, Film, and Interactive badge holders. As a part of their convergence efforts, 2015 will also feature “Next Stage,” which will highlight conversations and performances that span the Music, Film, and Interactive industries within the trade show showcasing some of the brightest emerging talent at SXSW®. There will also be official Meet Ups on Convergence day to highlight the intersections of the industries and cultures you can only find at SXSW®. As the event grows in size and importance each year, even expanding to SXSports and SXHealth and MedTech this year, everyone who is anyone will be attending, so don’t be surprised by who you may run into and where those contacts and ideas can take you. Be sure not to miss out. Never has networking an industry conference been so much fun. www.sxsw.com Allie Silver, a Weston-born expat based in Buenos Aires, is the founder of Free Radical Productions, a music and tour management company specializing in the international development of South American artists. In its two years of existence, Free Radical produced 10 international tours throughout Europe, Africa, and the US at some of the most prestigious venues and festivals worldwide.

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Profile for Weston Magazine Group

sohonyc magazine 54  

http://www.westonmagazinegroup.com, weston magazine group publisher of 14 upscale & sophisticated hyper-local regional luxury lifestyle maga...

sohonyc magazine 54  

http://www.westonmagazinegroup.com, weston magazine group publisher of 14 upscale & sophisticated hyper-local regional luxury lifestyle maga...