SXSW: A Home for Generation Y

Samantha Fetner

Austin was flooded with film fanatics, budding musicians and tech savvy entrepreneurs for this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW). SXSW started in 1987 after organizers of the New York City music festival decided to bring a similar festival to Austin. Today, the festival has emerged into a dynamic meeting place for independent filmmakers, original music and promising technologies, making it synonymous with the voice of generation Y. Here are four reasons as to why this festival should be considered a home for generation Y.

This is the first festival of its kind to tie music, film and technology together to speak to millennials. It is a place for all three to align in support of Austin’s unofficial mantra: “Keep Austin Weird.”

A recent Forbes article outlined five key lessons for marketers coming out of SXSW 2013. One lesson is discusses how SXSW is beneficial for consumer engagement. Generation Y is obsessed with showing off our latest gadgets, making SXSW a great place to satisfy this need. It is also a place to position a brand in a lifestyle space. As a marketing minor, one of the most important things to understand is how your brand interacts with its audience. SXSW is the perfect place for marketers to see how their product and target audience interact first hand. More and more large corporations had a presence at SXSW this year including 3M, Samsung, AT&T.

In previous years, SXSW featured Bruce Springsteen as keynote speaker for the music festival. This year, organizers made a clear shift towards the younger generation, featuring performances from Justin Timberlake, Sultan + Ned Shepard (Canadian electronic music duo), Icona Pop (electronic pop DJ duo from Sweden) and more. Even Snoop Dogg’s documentary, Reincarnated debuted at SXSW 2013.

SXSW also seems to be the ideal event for up-and-coming indie filmmakers whose work was not Sundance ready. Independent filmmakers gathered in Austin for a festival highlighting the importance of indie films. Films being shown at SXSW all seemed to have a younger audience.

SXSW has cemented itself as a festival able to stand alone through its unique presentation of tech, film and music across industries. Public relations and marketing professionals young and old hoping to gain further insight into the latest innovations and cultural trends should strongly consider attending.

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