Historical & Current Events dictionary

SXSW

or South by Southwest or South by or SX [ south bahy south-west ]

What is SXSW?

SXSW (South by Southwest) is an annual event in Austin, Texas, featuring multiple festivals, including music, film, and comedy, as well as exhibitions and a conference for professionals in creative and interactive industries.

The abbreviation SXSW is read as South by Southwest (it’s not pronounced as S-X-S-W). It’s often called South by for short (abbreviated SX).

SXSW is billed as a convergence of professionals and innovators in a variety of fields for the sake of networking, idea-sharing, and discovery. The multi-day event includes concerts, screenings, gaming events, speaker panels and Q&As, workshops, product exhibitions, and networking and other professional events.

An offshoot of SXSW is SXSW EDU, an education conference featuring a mix of events focused on technology and innovation in education.

When is SXSW?

SXSW takes place in March each year. The event typically lasts around five days, but is sometimes longer.

SXSW 2021 will be held from March 16–20. SXSW EDU 2021 will take place from March 9–11. Both 2021 events will be presented in a virtual format.

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Related words

🎥 Movie Camera emoji

Where does SXSW come from?

SXSW began in 1987 as a music festival to promote Austin musicians. In 1994, film and interactive media events were added to the lineup. Since then, SXSW has continued to attract a diverse lineup of events and attractions from the fields of entertainment, technology, and others.

The name of SXSW was inspired by the title of the film North by Northwest.

Examples of SXSW

I'll be in Austin performing at SXSW this year, well be playing outdoors at Stubbs can't wait!
@ladygaga, March 6, 2014
I've decided to cover a very nostalgic song for my generation at #sxsw Be ready for memory overload!!!!
@HeffronDrive, March 2, 2014
SXSW brings in creative folks from all over the world, but the Texas spirit can still be felt in the array of selvedge jeans, rugged boots, and untucked button-down shirts worn by attendees. That said, some of our favorite looks this year were surprisingly formal.
Megan Gustashaw, GQ, March 14, 2016
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More information and context on SXSW

Did you know … ?

  • The first SXSW drew around 700 attendees. In recent years, the event has been attended by more than 250,000 people.
  • Until 2017, different branches of SXSW were held separately, requiring separate tickets and badges.
  • Cuisine exhibitions and events have become a popular part of SXSW.

What are other words used in discussion of SXSW?

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🍂 Fallen Leaf emoji, 🍃 Leaf Fluttering in the Wind emoji, excited delirium, Earth Day, Coachella

Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of SXSW like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of SXSW that will help our users expand their word mastery.