The South By Southwest Interactive tech week is a visually fantastic festival.
Startups and corporate tech firms completely consume downtown Austin for days, plastering flyers all over the walls, rebranding the bars and pedicabs and barbecue joints. Thousands of technologists, reporters and executives fly in to partake of the brand-subsidized free flow of snacks and booze.
SXSW started as a music festival and then expanded into tech, briefly becoming a destination for tech news (Twitter blew up there). Now, it has returned to its roots, folded back into itself and emerged — as a celebrity-infused startup concert, a city-wide tech festival. The meat on the SXSW bone is not in Marriott conference rooms but in the Driskill hotel lobby, the celebrities aligning with venture capitalists, the costumed marketers and the midnight chaos on cordoned-off streets.
And while it may never be a serious tech conference where companies launch their products, maybe we don’t need another one of those. Maybe a subsidized tech party week is actually just the thing. And in all the playful excess, the hot viral apps (Meerkat!) that will come and go, the futuristic humor (holo-grandma sessions) and the guest-list-who’s-here jostling, we can learn something about the tech world today.
This year, Re/code’s Vjeran Pavic documented the beautiful brand melee.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.