Event Details for 2013 SXSW Emerging

Event Details for 2013 SXSW Emerging

[plug: TOWERS Realty has helped dozens of companies secure a downtown venue during SXSW.]

It’s coming up to the time of year again when tech, film and music fans descend on Austin for SXSW.

With every year, SXSW seems to grow bigger and more unpredictable, but bits of information are starting to trickle in about what will be happening and where.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we know is in the works so far:

  • This year, Sixth Street blocks, from Brazos to I-35, will be closed to traffic for more than a week, from March 8 to March 17.
  • Filter Magazine has Bar 96 and Lustre Pearl for Interactive, and the Rainey Street district will be subject to police emergency closure from March 8 to March 17. (It’s rumored that Google Village will return somewhere)
  • East Fifth street, on the east side of I-35, will be closed from March 13 to March 17.
  • Pandora is setting up shop in Antones (former) space at Lavaca and Fifth again. In 2012, Pandora founder Tim Westergren kicked off a “Pandora Discovery Den” there.
  • VICE is back again, setting up for mayhem off the beaten path on the west side of 3rd and I-35, where a current Crossfit gym is.
  • Spotify is hosting an event at Cenote Coffee, which is on the east side of I-35 on Cesar Chavez.
  • The Carmelo’s parking lot, at Red River and Fifth, is being converted into a mega music stage for title sponsor Doritos.
  • Skype is planning something in the lot at 7th @ Trinity Street.
  • Red Bull has the parking lot fronting I-35 @ 6th Street

The Statesman also just posted a preview of what to expect from the Interactive fest, which it notes was “once a modest offshoot in the ’90s focused on multimedia” and as we all know, later gave birth to Twitter.

Twitter was buzzing with complaints from attendees last year about the clogged roads, resulting in people missing many of the panels and events they came to town for. It’s said that’s what led to the decision to divert some of that programming to Las Vegas, this August. We’ll see how it impacts this year’s events.

Traffic aside, it’s inevitable that this year’s SXSW will continue to beg the question about how much capacity there is in downtown Austin for increasingly large events, particularly amid the non-stop construction. The City recently released data that said special events, such as SXSW and the Formula One Fan Fest, grew from 108 in FY10/11 to 136 FY11/12, up 26%.

Admittedly, it is a “good” problem to have and certainly one of the perks of living in Austin, as well as a huge financial contributor on almost every level of the social ladder.

For us downtowners, this is a blessing and a curse as it impedes many of our habits and routines. But it is certainly undeniable that there is an electric charge in the air when SXSW starts rolling into town every year. It’s a combination of the perfect weather season in Austin, followed by an abundance of creative energy that reminds us why we chose to make Austin our home to begin with.

To me, that’s worth celebrating.



How cool it is to live downtown?

How cool it is to live downtown?

This picture captures so much of the vibrancy of our growing downtown. The photographer, friend David Gottlieb, has one of the best vantage points in the city: Spring condos.

The influx of people for SXSW – traffic be damned – reminds me of what a 24/7 vibrant city looks and feels like.  And, we’re getting there.  Checkout an even cooler picture…

[Read more…]

SXSW 2011 – Downtown Austin Street Closures

SXSW 2011 – Downtown Austin Street Closures

Do you have a plan for getting around Downtown Austin during this year’s SXSW?  Bike, scooter, or walking will be your best bet.  But, if you have to get to/fro by car, attached are two nice maps of street closures for you to be aware of.  Click the thumbnails below for a full size image.

SXSW Venues Available For Lease

UPDATE: For SXSW 2012 venue and event rental contact Downtown Austin Blog here

It should come as no surprise that downtown Austin venue rental during SXSW is not cheap.  Want to brand a piece of real estate off of 6th Street?  $10k in venue rental + $10k guarantee in drink sales was what one national brand paid a venue on Red River for a single day last year.  Of course, there are other deals depending on what your company is trying to accomplish.  SXSW brings ~100,000 people into downtown Austin, and competition for space is fierce.

Knowing the venues and the operators is key.  If you send me a note telling me about your company/group, describing the kind/amount of space you need, how long you need the space for, and for what purpose, I’ll be happy to talk with you about what’s available.



Sundance and SXSW Considering "Echotone": A "Cultural Portrait" of Austin Music and Downtown Development

Don’t look now, but Austin may be on the verge of becoming the center of America’s next cultural moment. If Nathan Christ’s documentary “Echotone,” a low-budget film about the combustion of Austin’s booming inner-city development and its rocking music scene breaks through the final selection at the Sundance Film Festival, prepare for the nation’s eyes to fix again on the “Music Capital of the World.” As Christ’s film suggests, Austin may be the place where America’s economic recovery and its cultural renaissance intersect.

Or where they collide.

The rapid development of Austin’s central neighborhoods means larger audiences, bigger venues and more national attention.  It’s also brought higher housing costs and the proliferation of new sound ordinances.  The film asks us to weigh the effect of such changes on the city’s cultural bedrock and offers us a chance to take a larger view.

The films striking trailer touches off with the words, “Austin, TX: Present Day” as it soars over the cities burgeoning developments in a construction crane. In an interview with the Daily Texan, Christ eluded to the contemporary focus of the film: “There’re a lot of music films that are about looking back at a bygone era,” Christ said. “This is what history is. You should’ve been there. But, I realized in the past few years that a documentary can be in the present. You can make a powerful story about your age and about your peers.”

Right now SXSW is considering Echotone for a premier in March. If the film is selected, people in downtown Austin will be presented with a uniquely self-referential experience. On the films blog, Christ writes about  “the greater emotional vision of what a SXSW premiere could provide for the viewer,” At the climax, “the credits roll, and the audience walks out into the precisely the world they’ve just experienced for 90 minutes.”

Juxtaposing scenes of Austin’s quirky musical underground with the sights and sound of industrial construction, the film presents a town on the verge of awakening from a long slumber only to discover that it has become a city with an international reputation.

Featuring bands Belaire, “poised for commercial success, but conflicted over the thought of her music turning into a commodity” the “experimental troubadour” Bill Baird, and Black Joe Lewis’ man who fills music halls by night and delivers fish for a living by day, the film tells the story of the cities young artists while promising to deliver “a cultural portrait of the modern American city examined through the lyrics and lens of its creative class.”

Longtime residents of Austin will be surprised to find through Christ’s lens, that their city has suddenly acquired the magic appeal of San Francisco in the 1960s. For the outsider, the film may well crystallize everything they’ve been told about the little gem in the south.

What do you think about sound ordinances? Where should we draw the line between the needs of the Austin music scene and Downtown Austin’s growing residential community? Are these communities at odds or are they mutually beneficial?

Why can’t we be friends?