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Preparing for SXSW 2017: Our Primer on What to Watch

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Jessica Fritsche

Jessica Fritsche

Content Marketing Manager

Freeman

Your guide to what’s coming to Austin

March is coming soon, and with it will come one of the year’s biggest bashes: SXSW in Austin, Texas. Over the years, it has morphed from a small music conference to become a breeding ground for the best in creative storytelling, entertainment, marketing, and more. Thousands of attendees from all over the world will descend on the Texas capitol for two weeks to consume content you won’t find anywhere else — unique interactive sessions, top-shelf keynote speakers, and no-holds-barred brand installations…not to mention movie screenings, pop-up concerts, cool tech, and networking opportunities around every corner.

It’s no surprise that an event as large and diverse as SXSW racks up impressive numbers — just look at what the show generated in 2016:

SXSW 2016 By the Numbers:

Source for Statistics: SXSW 

We’ll be on location to experience all that SXSW has to offer, reporting the coolest experiences and most inventive inspirations for marketers, and we’re preparing our list of must-sees and must-dos while we’re in ATX. Here are just a few of the things we’re anticipating that we think you should be excited about, too.


Big brand takeovers

Austin as we know it goes through a metamorphosis during SXSW as brands take over — and make over — local restaurants, bars, and clubs to serve as the backdrop for the best in brand experiences serving up drinks, food, and unexpected fun.

Brands to look for: It’s all hush-hush for now, but IBM, Samsung, McDonalds, Spotify, and HBO were big players in 2016 — we can’t wait to see who’s happening this year. 

Digital surprises

Far flung from its roots as one of the mainstays in the music scene, SXSW has become a haven for emerging tech and digital entrepreneurs. You never know what new app launch or buzzy business venture might turn up the volume.

Ones to watch: The 2017 class of SXSW Release It, Tech.Co’s legendary Startup Night

Major one-of-a-kind moments

Where else can you rub elbows with movie stars, catch a keynote with industry visionaries, and take in a unique digital experience all in the space of a day? SXSW is full of the kind of special moments that elevate an event from good to great.

Our picks (so far): Viacom NEXT’s cinematic VR experience, The Melody of Dust; geeking out with Gareth Edwards, director of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; Marie Kondo organizing our lives 

Engagement for everyone

From the Accelerator stage to the dance floor at Stubbs, SXSW has a little something for everyone, personally and professionally. Attendees can jump in and engage with the latest and greatest in tech, film, food, music, and more.

Things to do: Get your hands dirty at SXSW Create, cheer for some eSports at the Gaming Expo, grab a bite from the Southbites food truck trailer park

Image courtesy of Wes Meyers

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