South by Southwest (abbreviated as SXSW and colloquially referred to as South By) is an annual combination of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences which takes place in mid-March in Austin (dates generally coincide with UT’s Spring Break as well as St. Patrick’s Day, lest you have any doubts as to the “good time had by all” angle to the event). It has grown in both size and scope every year since its start in 1987.
The stated purpose of South By is to create an opportunity for “creative people to develop their careers by bringing together people from around the globe to meet, learn and share ideas.”
The Austin Convention Center on Cesar Chavez between Trinity and Red River is generally considered “home base” for the event. Obtaining the “Platinum” badge (which gives you access to all events) a year in advance will run you over a $1,000.