South by Southwest 2016

The multiday, multi-themed festival receives international attention for its various panel discussions, film screenings and musical performances.

Speakers and performers at prior festivals have included Dave Grohl, Neil Gaiman, Wes Anderson and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Although attendees may register for a badge to attend keynote sessions, panel discussions, musical performances and other registrant-only activities, various official expos, markets and events are open to the public.

Now in its sixth year, SXSWedu has grown from a local and regional education event in its early years to an international convening, SXSWedu Executive Director Ron Reed said. In 2015, 45 nations were represented at SXSWedu, Reed said.

“We’re discovering, with conversations about learning, there’s more in common globally than there is unique from nation to nation,” Reed said.

Visit for more information.

South by Southwest

South by SouthwestFeatured sessions

President Barack Obama (part of keynote conversation with Evan Smith, CEO/editor in chief of The Texas Tribune, March 11, time TBD)

First lady Michelle Obama (opening keynote speaker, March 16, time TBD)

“A Conversation with Jake Gyllenhaal”
David Gordon Green, film director; Jake Gyllenhaal, filmmaker and actor (featured session, March 12, 12:30 p.m.)

“Helping Different Kinds of Minds Solve Problems”
Temple Grandin, professor of livestock behavior and welfare at Colorado State University (keynote speaker, March 7, 11 a.m.)

(Open to Interactive, Film, Music, gold and platinum badgeholders)

“Anthony Bourdain as Interviewed by Nathan Thornburgh”
Anthony Bourdain, chef and TV host, writer, producer; Nathan Thornburgh, chief editor and publisher of “Roads & Kingdoms” (featured session, March 13, 3:30 p.m.)

“The Eyes of Robots and Murderers”
J.J. Abrams, film director, founder and president of Bad Robot Productions; Andrew Jarecki, film director and co-founder of Moviefone (featured session, March 14, 3:30 p.m.)

(Require SXSW Guest Pass)

Southbites Trailer Park—604 Driskill St. once again becomes a showcase for some of Austin’s own food trucks and trailers, in addition to appearances from regional out-of-state vendors.

SXSW outdoor film screenings—From March 12-14 at the Long Center for the Performing Arts Terrace, films will be screened for free each evening.

Outdoor music stage at Lady Bird Lake—From March 17-19, free charity events are held at 800 Riverside Drive.

SXSW Gaming Expo—The fourth annual show for gaming culture has moved from the Palmer Events Center to the Austin Convention Center, from March 17-19.

SXSWedu Expo—The SXSWedu Expo, featuring exhibition space and a performance stage for students, is from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 8 at the Austin Convention Center.

SXSW Music Gear Expo—An expo with manufacturers showcasing guitar pedals, synthesizers, and other musical instruments and gear is open from 2-6 p.m. March 17 and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. March 18 and 19 at the Austin Convention Center.

New for 2016

VR/AR Track
As part of the convergence programming, the virtual reality and augmented reality track showcases innovations in the two technology sub-industries. Sessions, workshops and other VR/AR events take place at the Hilton Austin, 500 E. Fourth St., March 16-18. Attendees must have an interactive, film, music, gold or platinum badge.

What to know

Badge walk-up rates
Badges can be picked up at Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St.

Interactive: $1,295
Film: $695
Music: $895
Gold (Interactive and Film): $1,495
Platinum (Interactive, Film and Music): $1,745

Wristbands for locals
Austinites with a local billing address are qualified to purchase Music and Film wristbands, which give select access to badgeholder music showcases and film screenings. Wristband holders are allowed inside showcases after badgeholders have entered a venue. Wristbands guarantee no cover charge at a venue, but do not guarantee entry. Music wristbands cost $189 online on March 1 and $199 in person at limited venues during the event. Film wristbands cost $95 for screenings from March 11-19 and $65 for the second half of the festival from March 15-19. Visit for more information.

SXSW Guest Pass
The guest pass is a free credential that gives access to the free and public events including SXSW Gaming Expo. Visit for more details.


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