Entrepreneur is on the ground at SXSW. Watch our coverage for highlights throughout the festival.
SXSW is a celebration of ideas in technology, music, film and more. It’s also a chance to see things you likely wouldn’t see anywhere else.
Check out our gallery for a sense of what it’s like to be at this festival that draws thousands as well as bold-faced names from technology, science, art, music and even government. We’ll be updating this throughout the show, so make sure to check back.
At SXSW, even your room key is a chance to promote a product.
Comings and goings.
The Austin Convention Center offers this leaderboard that tracks flight delays -- helpful if you’re meeting someone en route or if your own flight home got canceled.
Lines, lines, lines.
Attendees line up for their badges -- essential for entry to official sessions and a universe of parties and other events throughout the festival. The lines were merciful the Thursday before the show. Soon after, this line was more than an hour long.
Hey, Mr. DJ.
Any festival can sell a branded hoodie or coffee mug. SXSW does this, but it also sells a slipmat. The nice man at the booth told me it’s something DJs put on record turntables or something I could use when I want to scratch.
New year, new art.
The annual tote bag is revealed -- showcasing how the festival is expanding into new topic areas.
National Geographic’s Nat Geo Further Base Camp serves as headquarters for brain boosters, live bands, panels and tech, as well as demos of Microsoft’s HoloLens, the untethered augmented reality headset.
We’ll drink to that!
National Geographic’s Further Base Camp features themed cocktails to celebrate science and technology. The drinks also celebrate the channel's programming, such with a rum drink called "Genius" (named for the upcoming show of the same name based on Albert Einstein's life) and another dubbed "StarTalk" (named for Neil deGrasse Tyson’s show on space and culture).
The AI Artist.
This first-of-its-kind interactive robotic artist at National Geographic’s Further Base Camp is a tribute to Albert Einstein’s legendary chalkboard. The robotic arm draws renderings of great minds as well as attendees who tweet their headshots with a certain hashtag.
The forthcoming comedy CHiPs took over a local donut shop. Those with a free coupon can redeem it for a novelty donut.
In a moment of peak SXSW, those promoting the new cop comedy film CHiPs pose in front of the Nio EP9, an electric supercar considered to be one of the fastest self-driving cars in the world.
The new family car.
The Nio Eve is autonomous, seats six and boasts an interior that has more in common with lounges and living rooms than most automobiles.
Just two gals on a stroll.
Women dressed as characters from the upcoming Hulu drama The Handmaid’s Tale walk the streets of Austin.
A message for the ages.
Those who approached the women dressed as characters from the upcoming Hulu drama The Handmaid’s Tale were passed this card.
The spirit of the buffalo.
American Gods, a new show in which modern and ancient gods battle for relevance, chose to erect a massive buffalo with glowing eyes. A buffalo-headed man figures prominently in the Neil Gaiman book upon which the show is based. Additionally, the bison has served as a spiritual figure for some.
Taking a break.
Mattress startup Casper took over a local motel to offer discounted rooms as well as 45-minute bookings where attendees can relax and recharge. The rooms feature phone chargers, a xylophone (complete with lullaby sheet music), bottles of Dirty Lemon Sleep (a beverage that contains herbs to promote calm and rest) and Casper mattresses (naturally).
Taking a dip.
Those visiting Casper’s motel takeover can lounge on traditional Casper mattresses or these inflatable ones at the pool.
Within a geodesic dome, attendees at the Be Brasil Lounge took a seat on bean bag chairs for a 360-degree motion picture experience that extolled the importance of Brazil’s natural and creative resources.
The purple people.
Fellas (or ladies?) in purple body stockings break-danced their way across the festival. They weren’t doing it for their health, but to build buzz for domain company Generation XYZ. If you posted a photo of the purple people to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and used a special hashtag, you were entered into a drawing for a Nintendo Switch or a Samsung VR headset.
An avocado ATM.
Avocados From Mexico ran this special automat at the food truck park SouthBites, allowing attendees to order special customized dishes from a machine.
A vending machine for cars.
Carvana installed this massive vending machine as a gimmick to bring attention to its unique approach to buying used cars. The company encourages online shopping and seven days for test drives before making a full commitment.
A new season for StarTalk.
Neil deGrasse Tyson isn’t just an astrophysicist and author, he’s the host of the first-ever late night talk show about science, StarTalk. He came to SXSW to talk science and announce a fourth season.
Follow the hustle.
SXSW marked the debut of SEED, directed by Andrew Wonder. The documentary follows a range of startup founders on their path to funding -- from high schoolers to an Uber driver who sleeps in his car.
Always find a spot.
This technology by Inrix was demonstrated at the C3 Smart Mobility Showcase. It takes feeds from smart meters to show street parking availability in real time.
This founder makes the case for his startup at TechCo’s Pitch Jam session.