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SXSW's cool and over-the-top displays

The Jane Doze perform at SXSW on March 16, 2015 in Austin, Texas.

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'Spring break for nerds'

Over the last several years, South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin has cultivated a reputation as a haven for the connected, the tech-savvy and the artistically inclined.

This year, the "spring break for nerds" defied the sober outlook for technology and venture capital, sparing no expense in lavish and sometimes over-the-top public displays. For brands with presence at the conference, the buzz they generate is often directly correlated to their on-site events and experiments.

On the first weekend, Tumblr threw a party that included eight bands, with indie rock band GroupLove among them. The event attracted more than 1,000 guests, with crowds lining up at 1 p.m. for a 7 p.m. event.

Read MoreSXSW's 'Spring Break nerds' get political'

Comcast Ventures (a subsidiary of Comcast, which also owns CNBC and, Andreessen Horowitz and WeWork are just a few of the assorted lot of companies, venture capitalists and media outlets that threw splashy events. For companies wanting to be cool and woo the more than 80,000 attendees, competition for attention can be fierce.

Before the conference wraps up on Sunday, CNBC made the rounds at SXSW (for purely civic minded reasons, of course) and found a handful of companies regaling the masses with catchy displays and splashy parties.

— By Uptin Saiidi
Posted March 20, 2015

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