For the last five years, I have been going to SXSW and trying to figure out what to do there and how to do it. It is a fantastic festival – the only one I know that has music, tech start-ups and film at this massive scale. As I am super interested in working with cross-over projects, it definetely is The Festival for me.
It is challenging to say the least. First of all, it is massive. In 2017, there were 285.804 attendees, 5.088 conference speakers, 2.085 music acts, 436 screenings and 1.084 parties and official events. And not only it is massive in scale, but most of the events, talks, parties and keynotes I have attended have been of a very high quality. So there is a massive amount of interesting content everywhere. To stage an event of any kind in that environment, is massively challenging. Luckily we seem to like a colossal challenge :)
Over the years, we have tried a number of things. In 2016, there was maybe most potential for success with the Nordics hosting their own Nordic Lighthouse. But it also turned out to be a bit of a disaster. The problems then were the same as they always are: budget challenges lead to event organising starting too late and when we were finally able to start, there were so many cooks that they could barely fit into the kitchen, let alone do something there.
So, this year we have struggled to stay small and simple. To do something relatively small, but of excellent quality and then back it up with good amount of marketing. I am at the same time excited and terrified to see how it goes.