This week, SXSW will bring more than 40,000 people, many of them famous, hocking zany high-tech doodads or very well-dressed, to Austin, Texas, population 830,812.
SXSW has been doing its thing in Austin for 27 years now. Over that time, the city has transformed from a charmingly eccentric den of country-influenced musicians and perma-students surviving on $2 breakfast tacos and $400 rent (see: Slacker) into one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions, with a tech industry other cities would give many, many tax breaks for and a cutthroat real estate market. In a 2011 interview, SXSW co-founder Roland Swenson described how the internationally known festival grew “along with Austin.”
No doubt the city and the festival have a symbiotic relationship. Explore it with our timeline and economic impact graphic.