Money, Politics (But No Drones) in the Mix at Austin’s SXSW

It’s time for the big festival.

A band plays a quick gig during the 2012 SXSW Music Festival in downtown Austin. (AP Photo/Jack Plunkett)

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Amid SXSW fervor in Austin this week comes news of political moves, currency leaps and drones.

First, in a nod to the Texas city’s tech hub cred, Sen. Rand Paul says he’s opening an office in downtown startup incubator Capital Factory. According to Austin Business Journal, “Paul plans to tap into Austin’s plethora of digital talent to boost the digital presence of his RANDPAC political action committee.”

That growing tech industry is exactly why CoinVault ATM CEO Sheldon Weisfeld thinks bitcoin can be a thing there. He made repairs to a broken bitcoin ATM in an Austin bar (the country’s first and installed before last year’s event) in advance of the festival.

Festival organizers told attendees to leave their drones at home with the following warning, “SXSW has a strict no drones policy due to the safety risks drones present to the public, and pursuant to City of Austin Ordinance, Chapter 13-1.”

In addition to the interactive festival, which is March 13-17, SXSW features the film festival March 13-21, and the music festival March 17-22. USA Today notes that the nearly 30-year-old event “has become a huge benefactor not just to techies but to the city itself, last year pouring $315 million into the Austin economy and drawing more than 85,000 enthusiasts to the city.”

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Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Tags: austin

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