South by Southwest, the conglomerate of film, interactive and music festivals and conferences, offers a sprawling, nearly impossible-to-wrangle array of speakers, themes and brand activations every March. This year is no different, dedicating entire tracks of programming to celebrity speakersincluding John Boehner talking about marijuana legalizationand big tech names on blockchain and cryptocurrency, experiential storytelling, influencers and more. (Also, goat yoga!)
This year’s conference spans 10 days, officially kicking off on Friday, March 8. Though as of press time organizers said they were still adding content and registrants, figures were expected to be similar to last year’s, which drew more than 75,000 attendees, and featured nearly 5,000 speakers and more than 2,000 sessions. Oh, and 727 parties.
Some in the marketing and advertising community have turned away from attending or sending employees to the event. One executive called the event “agency inspiration week,” suggesting it’s more of a place to party than to actually get things done.