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South by Southwest

South by Southwest
[Photo: Flickr user CleftClips]

It's been called the biggest industry party in the world — nearly 150,000 attendees, 80-plus venues, and more than 1,800 acts, including Ben Harper this year. But SXSW veterans know the annual music-and-more festival's most talked-about events often belong to no industry at all. Unofficial film screenings and seat-of-the-pants jam sessions draw clusters of festivalgoers to clothing stores and parking lots across the city. Last year, while brands like Xbox 360 and Rock Band pushed their wares at official parties, others including Red Bull and Scion were hanging around (and hosting) unofficial gatherings. All this big-brand marketing, at an event once dominated by boutique record labels and niche music mags, may leave a bad taste in some purists' mouths. But take it from us: It's nothing a free Red Bull can't wash away. — Clay Dillow

Fri, March 13
South by Southwest
Austin, Texas

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