A Guide to the South By Southwest, Inc., Records, 1987-1997
South by Southwest (SXSW) is a set of interactive, film, and music festivals and conferences that take place every spring in Austin, Texas. SXSW first began in July 1986, with Mark Josephsen and Joel Weber wanting to expand New York’s New Music Seminar to Austin. Roland Swenson served as their liaison in Austin. When the plans fell through, Swenson convinced Nick Barbaro and Louis Black, his co-workers at the Austin Chronicle, to continue with the idea. Together with Louis Jay Meyers, a manager and musician, they formed a limited partnership as SXSW, Inc., and presented SXSW I in March 1987. Principle figures in SXSW, Inc., also include Linda Owen, Marketing Director, and Joe Rae DiMenno, Publicist.
SXSW is the sum of a number of components: a series of workshops and panel discussions dealing with aspects of the industry, from booking and management to college radio; the SXSW Music Festival, which showcases a multitude of acts in various Austin nightclub; the more recent additions to the Festival, SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive; the Austin Music Awards, which celebrates the winners of the Chronicle’s annual readers’ poll; and attendant events like the Press & Trade show.
In addition to the annual conferences, SXSW, Inc. also presents related events including: NXNW in Portland, Oregon; NXNE in Toronto; Berlin Independence Days in Germany; Mississippi River Days in St. Louis; and the Assassination Symposium on JFK, an annual conference in Dallas concerning the John F. Kennedy assassination.
The South by Southwest (SXSW), Inc. records pertain to the organization and activities of the SXSW music and media conferences (1987-1997, bulk 1995) which includes correspondence with cosponsors, artists, and other music conference organizers; minutes; printed material; legal documents; and financial documents. Two series compose the records, one documenting the activities of the SXSW conferences held in Austin, Texas, and the other recording activities of worldwide conferences affiliated with SXSW, Inc. Each series is divided further to reflect the activities of each individual conference: planning, activities, and reviews. The bulk of the records are the press reviews of each conference from both national and international newspapers and magazines. The administrative records of SXSW document the preparatory activities involved in planning and executing the annual conference. The bulk of these records include the correspondence and legal documents of Marketing Director Linda Owen, concerning trade show registration and contracts, advertising agreements, media trade lists, and press contacts, and the correspondence of Publicist Jo Rae DiMenno, concerning requests for press passes. The records of the other conferences affiliated with SXSW consist primarily of programs and reviews.
The collection is open for research.
South By Southwest, Inc., Records, 1987-1997, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Marlys Doppelhammer, Blythe Lee, and Erin Rhodes, 1997. Revisions were made by Steve Stappenbeck, October 1998.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers