Since 1987, Austin (a.k.a. the “Live Music Capital of the World”) plays host to the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival for entertainment professionals and related media. It offers one of the top ten film festivals in the world and the music festival is matched by no other. SXSW is truly a global event and the city of Austin benefits directly through coast to coast and world wide exposure plus an infusion of $25 million a year into the local economy.
I first became involved in SXSW through odd jobs and as the host of visiting bands at my college co-op. For several years, my wife April and I have been one of 1200 volunteers who help operate the festival each year. We’ve served in many capacities from trade show bag-stuffers to exhibitor guides to special events hosts. We’ve even opened our spare bedroom to up and coming filmmakers. I’ve also provided web application consultation and equipment. During the music festival, I shot band performances on digital video for exclusive SXSW.com web coverage.
The festival is very rewarding to us personally. We’ve met scores of great friends, hobnobbed with celebrities and folks in the know and enjoyed all access to trade shows, film premiers, special screenings, awards shows and after parties. The festival is a ton of fun and we’ve got a closet full of swag and pictures to show for it.