Live from SXSW, Instagram coming to Android users soon. Currently in private beta testing with select few.
What better precursor is there to five jam-packed days of people, panels, and parties than to start at the beginning with a little bit of SXSW history. What started as a small(er) get together of music lovers has grown into one of the leading annual events for early adopters and trendsetters. Here’s a quick overview of some SXSW highlights over the years:
SXSW History Highlights
1987 - The Birth of SXSW Music: Seven hundred people gathered in 1987 at the first official SXSW Music Conference in Austin and remained a staple ever since. A city known of its eclectic musical roots in jazz, country, folk, and rock, Austin attracted the perfect balance between a thriving music scene and a great night life. A year later, the conference nearly doubled in size with 415 speakers and presentations and over 1,200 attendees.
1990 - First After Hours Party: As the event achieved continued success, so did the demand for more from the attendees. In 1990, the first official SXSW after party took place at Crest Ballroom. Today, these events are central to SXSW networking.
1994 - Interactive and Film join SXSW Music: While music continued to be the “pulse” of Austin and its culture, film and tech companies quickly planted roots. By 1994, these industries had such a presence that SXSW added both as components of the now seven year old conference. It also solidifes SXSW as *the* indie label event of the year.
2005 - SXSW and MTV: The cast of Real World: Austin (back when they still technically had to “work” to live on the show) landed a gig filming a documentary about SXSW marking arguably one of the first times SXSW crept into pop culture and outside of the industry folk to date.
2007 - What’s a Twitter?: This little program where you send out messages in 140 characters or less debuts at SXSW. Maybe you’ve heard of them? Twitter? It generated a decent amount of buzz for the company. Facebook was on the scene a year later with a keynote interview of Mark Zuckerberg.
Today: SXSW is booming, full of creative thinkers, do’ers, entrepreneurs, techies, artists, and professionals from all industries and causes a surge for local businesses year after year (2011 estimate was $167 million into Austin economy.) The conference itself has grown to include the three staples (music, film, interactive) and added two more - SXSWedu and SXSWeco. SXSW Interactive has emerged as THE badge to have; last year over 20,000 people were estimated in attendance, attracting more people than the music and film festivals.