This previous weekend was the kickoff to the SXSW music festival, an interactive conference that takes place every year in Austin, TX. The name is a play on the Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest and the original SXSW concept back in 1986 was meant to be a small event, 150 people at most. When 700 showed up, the organizers realized they had already reached national music festival levels.
Today it’s recognized as the one of the single largest music festivals in the nation, lasting 10 days and featuring hundreds of performers and bands. Part of the fun of SXSW is the element of surprise, with a shift in the overall culture of the event from more contained to one that the attendees feel ownership over. The hashtag #KeepAustinWeird has been steadily rising on Twitter, thanks to celebrity TV host Jimmy Kimmel, who announced he was taking his show to Austin for the event “to inject a little more weirdness” into the program.
The slogan, now a popular hashtag, was originally adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses but now it has reached far beyond that marketing campaign. Austin being the self-proclaimed “live music capital of the world” fully embraces the general ‘weirdness’ of their artistic culture and eclectic creative center. By “Keeping Austin Weird” they move beyond a mere slogan to reflect the dynamics that encompass Austin, TX. #KeepAustinAwesome is more like it.