By Lizbeth Trujillo
South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival is a three part film, music, and interactive festival that offers a very unique opportunity to those searching for new experiences within one of those three areas the festival focuses on. The annual event takes place in Austin, Texas and attendees will surely be surprised by the great amount of innovation that they will come across.
Every year, the event serves as a platform for creativity which includes new film screenings, music showcases, and media presentations that always succeed in providing not only exposure for creators but also entertainment to the audience.
This year, the SXSW festival lasted, from March 11 to March 19 and celebrated its 30th anniversary. SXSW succeeded in living up to the audiences’ high expectations by providing them with a unique opportunity for enlightenment, creativity, and entertainment.
The event also gained large amounts of publicity with the attendance of President Barack Obama and his family at the interactive portion of the festival. His keynote speech focused on privacy and security, the hot topic considering recent terrorist attacks in places like Paris and Brussels. Recently the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been involved in a battle with Apple over data on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters back in December. Obama emphasized that Americans have always made privacy tradeoffs with the government, such as waiting in the long lines at the airport, and that it should continue to be this way.
At the clubs, attendees were able to enjoy unique and live music, such as a band from Brazil that combined the sound of Tuvan throat singing which are a variant of overtone singing practiced in Mongolia, Tuva and Siberia with the dueling blues-edged voices of the female vocalists Far From Alaska and a nomadic African guitarist in a flowing robe playing Saharan psychedelia (Bombino).
Another unique element of this year’s SXSW festival included a first time “Sounds of Cuba” showcase where record label representatives and Latin music fans were able to enjoy rappers, Afro-Latin jazz singers, and other aspects of Cuban music. Lastly, the film festival showcased a variety of upcoming movies such as “Sausage Party,” “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday,” “Everybody Wants Some,” and “Keanu.”
The open-mindedness of both those who display their work and the audience combined to make the festival an extremely unique and exciting experience.
“I feel that people come to South by Southwest to talk about a lot of important ideas, but they also come here to have fun. You’ve got all these creative people and great thinkers, but they’ve here because it’s enjoyable. It’s not like homework,” Janet Pierson, head of SXSW Film said in an interview with The LA Times.