Last week SXSW wrapped up its 24th annual festival, offering activities for everything including panels on emerging tech, tradeshows, parties, art installations, live music, and more. While SXSW has gotten bigger year by year, this time around the focus seemed to be more on bringing lesser known artists, films, and brands to the scene. While many well-known celebrities, shows, and musicians were still in attendance, the festival still thrived with its notion of the undiscovered.
With that said, here are some highlights (in photo form) from the 2017 SXSW festival:
Breaking Bad fans unite. Since its spinoff series Better Call Saul is coming back for another season, AMC brought a pop-up of its Albuquerque restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos, one of the main settings of the TV show, to SXSW Interactive where fans could experience a replicate of the restaurant and enjoy free curly fries.
The Austin Convention Center is the hub for all things SXSW, hosting a number of panels, film premieres, trade shows, art installations, and more.
During her capacity filled panel, Toward a More Personalized Web, Heather Brunner discussed the importance of building relationships with your customers and how that can help generate a unique, personalized web experience.
National Geographic made its way to this year’s SXSW and hosted the Nat Geo Further Base Camp. Held at Vulcan Gas Company on 6th Street, the interactive hub offered brain-boosting and mind boggling activities in honor of its upcoming TV series GENIUS which tells the story of Albert Einstein.
Nat Geo also hosted a plethora of panels, live bands, and even a birthday party for Albert Einstein. I was lucky enough see the band A R I Z O N A (featured above) who performed the first day of SXSW Interactive.
The novel adapted into TV show American Gods premiered at the SXSW festival. To help promote the new show (coming this 2017 to Starz), a massive bull statue was placed off Cesar Chavez St for SXSW goers to view and interact with on their trek to the Rainey Street Historic District.
Art at SXSW Interactive this year did not disappoint. Three of my favorite installations (featured above) included TRIPH An Installation by Circus Family, Optic Obscura by Raum Industries, and Infinity Room by Refik Anadol.
WP Engine’s CMO Mary Ellen Dugan took the stage during SXSW to discuss “Elevating Diversity Through Marketing” at W2o Group’s PreCommerce Summit.
WP Engine hosted the event Taco ‘Bout It the first Saturday of SXSWi. The morning panel at Max’s Wine Dive featured Claire Graves of the Webby’s who presented on what it takes to win a Webby award.
— WP Engine (@wpengine) March 11, 2017
Despite two days of cold weather and rain, the sun finally came out for the remainder of SXSW. This view of downtown Austin comes to you from the Hilton Austin Downtown, one of the main venues for panels during SXSW.
For the first time ever, the SXSW Startup Crawl actually occurred during SXSW. The event has traditionally been held the week prior to SXSW, however this year SXSW goers could enjoy the event as well. The atrium level of the Omni Downtown is the main hub for companies to set up booths and visit the Capital Factory on the 16th floor.
WP Engine’s next door neighbor Indeed hosted a killer Startup Crawl party at their new office downtown. With a DJ, nacho bar, free swag, and more, the line was around the block to get into these tech corridors.
A startup crawl would be incomplete without paying a visit to some of Austin’s most thriving new businesses. Merely five years old, Trendkite never fails to disappoint in their celebration of Austin’s startup culture. Recently having opened an office in London, Trendkite brought in the British flags and photo booths for the ultimate SXSW celebration.
Of course, WP Engine who found its beginnings in Austin, is an active participate in the SXSW Startup Crawl. Attendees mingled with our booth representatives during the event.
WP Engine’s Events Planner Rachel Graham chats it up with SXSW Startup crawlers.
The SXSW trade show area had…you guessed it…real robots!
Of course, it wouldn’t be SXSW without encountering a VR/AR experience.
The YouTube Corner of SXSW featured these 360 video spheres. Without actually wearing a headset, as you walk around the sphere the video changes so it’s like you’re actually in the scene. Amazing!
Speaking of 360 video, I got to hear from three of National Geographic’s explorers who have been working to capture undiscovered scenes from around the world. In the panel National Geographic Explorers Changing the World, submarine pilot Erika Bergman explained how “Technology allows people to go into an environment that they might not be able to physically inhabit.”
Pop music sensation Kesha spoke at SXSW along with Refinery29’s Chief Content Officer Amy Emmerich on maintaining a healthy relationship with the internet despite ongoing negative criticism. “I try to limit myself in terms of reading comments because there can be a million positive ones, but I always gravitate towards the one negative one,” said Kesha.
IBM made an appearance at SXSW with its interactive house that included aspects of how IBM is working to make our lives better with new technology.
WP Engine CTO Jason Cohen presented alongside Niranjan Nagar, Holly McConnell and Greg Barr in the panel Ask Before You Need: Startups, Investing & You. The panel focused on how startups can break away from notions of how investing worked in the past and how to leverage new strategies and mindsets for investing in the future.
The calm before the storm…a not so packed 6th Street prior to the crazy spring break crowds it would endure nightly during SXSW.
I happened to run into Bill Nye prior to the world premiere of his film Bill Nye: Science Guy where he tried to teach me how to take a selfie.
What is SXSW without free food? Spredfast hooked it up at their Social Suite with these amazing DIY shakes.
What were some of your favorite memories from this year’s SXSW? Let us know by leaving a comment, or tweet us your favorite photos @wpengine.