What to watch for at SXSW 2017


To get the most from the annual South by Southwest Conference and Festival you'd need to be able to be in multiple places at once, attending events and parties while catching up on sleep.

The festival, which kicks off today and runs through March 19, discusses technology, music and film topics and trends that often set the watercooler agenda for the next year.

Since there are hundreds of panels and parties to attend, here's a handful of things that we noticed that may pique your interest as well:

Interactive Opening Speaker: Cory Booker (March 10)

This year's SXSW is focusing more on issues and themes affecting the tech industry. To kick off the Interactive events, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is stopping by SXSW to talk about bi-partisan solutions to our current political problems with Google's Senior Counsel on Civil and Human Rights Malika Saada Saar.

Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, speaks during the 2017 South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, U.S., on Friday, March 10, 2017.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Nerdist Backyard Bash

Digital network Nerdist's Backyard Bash extends from March 10 -12, and will offer its brand of geek-themed events alongside the official programming. You'll get to see live music every night, as well as the casts of upcoming movies and shows including Edgar Wright's "Baby Driver" and "American Gods," based off the Neil Gaiman book.

From YouTube Star to Media Company Co-Founder (March 11)

You may not know Casey Neistat, but most young millennials and teens do. The new media entrepreneur started as a YouTube vlogger and turned his success into a video sharing app called Beme. A little over year after Beme launched, CNN bought the app for $25 million. Neistat also is a leader in digital branded content, directing and starring in ad campaigns and TV commercials for brands Nike and Samsung.

Mark Cuban & Tech Execs: Is Govt Disrupting Disruption? (March 12)

Mark Cuban and car insurance comparison marketplace The Zebra's Adam Lyons will discuss how start-ups have been shaken up by government regulation.

SapientRazorfish Innovation Day (March 12)

Digital agency SapientRazofish is hosting its own panels, focused on buzzworthy technology topics like artificial intelligence . Noteworthy panels include "Lessons Learned from Birthing a Bot," featuring the inventor of the hashtag and former Google developer advocate Chris Messina, as well as "Augmented Intelligence: The Next-Gen AI," which will discuss how people and technology can work together to make more effective choices.

YouTube Corner

Google's main hub at SXSW will be from March 12 – 14, and is focused on how technology is changing the advertising industry. If you're sticking around, another set of music-themed events will be happening at "YouTube @ Coppertank" from March 15- 17, featuring up-and-coming musicians.


Twitter will have a variety of events showing its ability to be a hub for pop culture moments, including a place to kick back and watch the NCAA Sunday Selections as well as a #TheFinalRose viewing party for "The Bachelor" fans that need a break from the festival.

Twitch X Reddit IRL

Amazon's Twitch and Reddit are sharing the stage and bringing the AMA ("Ask Me Anything") format live from March 13- 17. People in the hotseat include director of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" Gareth Edwards and "Mortal Kombat" creator Ed Boon. Performances include A$AP Mob featuring A$AP Rocky, Grandmaster Flash and MC Lars.

Ke$ha performs in London, England.
Neil Lupin | Redferns | Getty Images

Refinery29 and Kesha Discuss Reclaiming the Internet (March 14)

Pop star Kesha is discussing her experiences with cyberbullying on the Internet, and ways women can stand up for themselves online and in the real world. The singer/songwriter made headlines after she sued her producer to get out of her music contract, alleging he sexually assaulted her. Although she got an outpouring of support from many, it also opened her up online abuse.