South by South West
SXSW is a music festival in Austin, TX that started in 1987 with only one location, and a handful of bands. Now, 23 years later, it has become an entire city endeavor that occupies a calendar week or more.
It is a monster that grosses the city almost $110 Million dollars in revenue and attracts people from all over the country, and globe.
The "official" SXSW event last 4 days and includes tons of independent feature films like academy award winning The Hurt Locker or Passing Strange along with well known musicians like Motorhead, Dillinger Escape Plan and GWAR.
These official events usually run $10 or $20+ a pop or hundreds of dollars for special day or weekend passes of various sorts.
However, because this event brings the city so much outside tourism, sponsorship and attention, local clubs and organizations hold FREE shows and events through out the week bearing the SXSW name. Seeing as Austin, per capita, has more venues than any other US city, there end up being a lot of these. As if that wasn't enough, many of the venues or community organizations throw in free beer or food during their show to get a bigger crowd.
I have never, in my life, seen such a busy music fest. There is SO much music and events to attend that we have now gone out every day and night for the past 4 days, with no sign of slowing down until next week.
Somehow, accidentally, we came to Austin at the perfect time.