Billboard Explains: South by Southwest

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South by Southwest takes over Austin, Texas, every year, intertwining film, music and interactive media — but how did it become one of the arts’ biggest festivals?

The inaugural SXSW took place in 1987 as an extension of an already-existing New York City festival. When those plans fell through, Ronald Swenson of the Austin Chronicle — who is now the CEO of SXSW — decided to co-organize it as a local music festival.

SXSW has 15 tracks of programming in various formats, including summits, keynotes, panels, workshops, podcasts and more. “It would be like if every creative person in the world went on spring break together in Austin, Texas,” Brian Hobbs, SXSW programming manager, tells Billboard‘s Tetris Kelly.

With inspiring speakers, major film screenings and headline-making performances, SXSW has stood the test of time, bringing all-stars from every creative genre together.

For the 2022 edition, which will take place from March 11 to 20, Billboard is teaming up with Samsung Galaxy to bring the Samsung + Billboard Present The Stage at SXSW event. The show will take place March 17-19 and will feature three consecutive evenings of headliners at the Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park. Among the performers are Gunna, Young Thug, Kygo, Frank Walker, Forester, Shawn Mendes and Sebastian Yatra.

Watch the latest episode of Billboard Explains above to learn more about everything SXSW.

After the video, catch up on more Billboard Explains videos and learn about the magic of boy bands, American Music Awards, the Billboard Latin Music Awards, the Hot 100 charthow R&B/hip-hop became the biggest genre in the festivals book their lineupsBillie Eilish’s formula for success, the history of rap battlesnonbinary awareness in musicthe Billboard Music Awardsthe Free Britney movementrise of K-pop in the U.S.why Taylor Swift is re-recording her first six albumsthe boom of hit all-female collaborationshow Grammy nominees and winners are chosenwhy songwriters are selling their publishing catalogshow the Super Bowl halftime show is booked and why Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” was able to shoot to No. 1 on the Hot 100.

PMC is the largest shareholder of SXSW and its brands are official media partners of SXSW.

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