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10 Factual Facts About The South By Southwest Festival

By Jodi Smith | SXSW | March 14, 2016 | Comments ()

By Jodi Smith | SXSW | March 14, 2016 |


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As you may know from reading the site and seeing the headlines with SXSW in them, many of the Pajiba staff attended/is still attending the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. They’re seeing movies, drinking drinks, entering into unholy pacts with one another, and generally having a great time.

Petr told me those assholes have glitter too, so I’m double-pissed at them right now.

Here are 10 facts about the immensely popular SXSW Festival and the untold glories being withheld from me there.

1. The first South By Southwest Festival was announced in late 1986 and held in 1987. The festival had 177 “Showcasing Artists” and no movies being shown. It was strictly music. The Keynote Speaker was Huey Meaux, founder of Tear Drop Records.

2. In 1994, Johnny Cash was the Keynote Speaker. This was also the first year that SXSW would have Film and Interactive components for attendees. We can also thank this year of the festival for the song “MmmBop”, as Hanson met their manager by wandering around and randomly performing for people there.

3. Happily, SXSW is also at least partially responsible for helping to break musical acts: Janelle Monae, The White Stripes, Veruca Salt, Dixie Chicks, The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, and The Strokes.

4. According to statistics from the festival itself: ” In 2015, SXSW was directly and indirectly responsible for injecting $317.2 million into the Austin economy.”

5. 1995 saw the Film and Interactive portions of the festival break off into their own conference and showcase.

6. SXSW has hosted the world premiere of many movies: Trainwreck, Cyrus, The Cabin in the Woods, 21 Jump Street, Short Term 12, Evil Dead, A Prairie Home Companion, Cabin Fever, Knocked Up, Kick-Ass, Attack the Block, and more.

7. Mumblecore filmmaker Joe Swanberg has the very first same day premiere in theaters and VOD at SXSW in 2009 for his film Alexander the Last.

8. Many social media companies have gotten their start at SXSW. Twitter (2007), FourSquare (2009), and Klout (2009) are just a few.

9. Grumpy Cat attended the festival in 2013. There were people lined up around the block waiting to get inside the tent and meet the pissed off kitty.

10. You can thank SXSW for Lena Dunham and Girls.
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