How To Watch President Obama’s SXSW Keynote

Not everyone will be able to get a ticket, but SXSW will live-stream the president’s onstage conversation about civic engagement.

How To Watch President Obama’s SXSW Keynote
[Photo: Pete Souza, Official White House Photo]

If you’ve ever been to Austin for SXSW, you know that the Texas capital is absolutely overrun by tens of thousands of people every March when the tech, film, and music conference kicks in.


Imagine, then, bringing the president of the United States into the middle of this jam-packed event, and you can probably understand that SXSW organizers, not to mention Austin police and the Secret Service, have a formidable job organizing Barack Obama’s keynote address on March 11.

Sadly, not everyone who wants to attend the talk will be able to. For one thing, the keynote–during which Obama will chat one-on-one with Texas Tribune editor-in-chief Evan Smith about civic engagement–is only open to SXSW Interactive, Gold, and Platinum badge holders. That means, for those familiar with SXSW, that Music badge holders are not eligible to attend.

But the keynote, which will be held at 2:30 p.m. CT in the Dell Hall in Austin’s Long Center, across the river from the Austin Convention Center, will still be oversubscribed.

SXSW is having a drawing for tickets. Here’s how you can enter: First, you have to be a registered SXSW attendee, and you have to sign up for the drawing by 8 p.m. CST Thursday, March 10. Second, you need to go to your SXSocial account, link your badge if you have not already done so, and then click on the “Ticket Drawings” tab. The drawing will take place the evening of Thursday, March 10, and winners will be notified by email by Friday morning.

Organizers have made it very clear that winners will get a single ticket–no plus-ones. Tickets are also non-transferable. And no tickets will be available at the door.

For those–and there will be many of you–who don’t get a ticket, SXSW will live-stream the president’s keynote online, as well as simulcast it in Ballrooms D and EFG, and Room 18ABCD at the Austin Convention Center.


We’ll be liveblogging the keynote here.

Good luck to those of you who have entered the drawing for tickets. I hope to see you there.

About the author

Daniel Terdiman is a San Francisco-based technology journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. A veteran of CNET and VentureBeat, Daniel has also written for Wired, The New York Times, Time, and many other publications.