And So It Begins …

Today marks the official opening of the SXSW festival, with registration for the music and interactive events happening this afternoon and opening parties kicking off tonight. From today through the 19th, downtown Austin (and selective areas city-wide) will primarily be defined by the human mash-up of attendees, speakers, artists, organizers and volunteers careening from event-to-event. For locals who are averse to the whole chaotic affair, now is probably not the time to try that new downtown eatery or meet the gang for drinks on 6th St.

Despite some inevitable grousing about crowds and traffic, SXSW has generally maintained a positive buzz from locals and visitors alike. As pointed out in today’s C|NET article, part of this is attributable to the conference’s ability to evolve and promote relevant conversations about technology, film, and music. Another reason is the ambiance of our fair city, which pervades the festival. The festival is summed up in the article by Eric Vespe from Ain’t It Cool News:

[SXSW] is kind of like Austin, that’s the best way to describe it. Austin’s a small town and a big city.

That duality has been the root of Austin’s charm since I’ve been here. Another way to look at it is that Austin is bigger than SXSW, while simultaneously defined by the creative elements that are intertwined with the festival. Contrast this with Sundance, where Park City is over-run by its annual gold rush of celebrity, and has become dependant upon an event which has essentially destroyed a substantial part of its charm. Austin and SXSW have greater balance (or co-dependance), where people genuinely like coming to town and Austin likes being the home of SXSW. The ongoing trick is to maintain this balance as Austin and SXSW continue to grow. So far so good …

1 Comment so far

  1. Travis (unregistered) on March 10th, 2006 @ 10:11 pm

    I’m a MetBlogger from Vancouver, in town for SXSW — any chance I could meet other Metbloggers who are in for the festival? Are you Austin writers going to be doing anything particularly interesting while all these interlopers are in town?


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