SXSW Attendees Are Interacting With Rain
With a hazardous weather outlook issued for the weekend, with small hail and heavy rainfall possible, the weather put a damper on the first day of South by Southwest Interactive.
About 18,000 people are signed up to attend this year’s Interactive festival, the annual conference focused on the Internet and technology. At the Austin Convention Center, some people are complaining about the miserable weather. But others, like Mark Nagurski, don’t seem to mind at all.
“I’m Irish, so we’re quite used to this,” Nagurski said. “Hopefully it will clear up over the weekend and it will be good fun from there, but, meh, business as usual for us.”
And it wouldn’t be South by Southwest if someone didn’t turn the weather into a marketing opportunity. Amanda Lynferri with the microblogging site Tumblr read the forecast on Monday. She printed her company’s logo on a bunch of inexpensive ponchos, and now there are people are walking everywhere wearing the Tumblr logo.
“People have told me that I am brilliant, that I am the smartest person alive and that I am a savior,” Lynferri said. “So things are going really well for the poncho business right now.”
The director of SXSW Interactive, Hugh Forrest, is trying to remain optimistic while his conference is deluged with rain.
“Maybe [the rain] brings more people indoors,” Forrest said. “The upside of that is that maybe more people will go to the official programming and will maybe create even more interest in that.”
One event that organizers hope with draw plenty of buzz was announced this morning. The inventor of Napster and founding president of Facebook, Sean Parker, will be interviewed on Monday by former U.S. vice president Al Gore.