For the past four years, the annual South By Southwest collection of festivals from Austin, Texas, has offered free downloads of MP3s from the hundreds of bands who play showcasing events in the clubs. Now in its 22nd year, they have decided to not offer a convenient torrent which provided all the songs in one download.
Fortunately, Greg Hewgill, one of the early seeders of the annual torrent, has taken it upon himself to create his own unofficial torrent file containing MP3s from 764 bands who are scheduled to appear this year, between March 12 to 16, 2008.
You can still download individual MP3s from each of the 764 bands, from the official SXSW 2008 site. Or, for those of you who have missed the previous torrents, you can download them all from this page on Greg Hewgill's blog.
The Music and Media Conference (March 12 – 16) includes a music festival, conference and trade show. The conference keynote speaker this year is Lou Reed. Previous keynote speakers have included Pete Townshend, Neil Young, Robert Plant, Daniel Lanois, Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Ray Davies and Robbie Robertson. You can view the list of the over 1700 bands who will be performing on the SXSW website, which includes links for downloading MP3s.
The Interactive Festival (March 7 -11) is all about cool, emerging technologies and includes the 11th annual SXSW Web Awards.
The Film Festival (March 7 – 15) features around 250 films, which includes feature and and short films. It also includes four days of conferences with panelists, dubbed the "Four-Day Film School."
According to the SXSW 2007 demographics site, SXSW 2007 hosted more than 123,000 total attendees:
- more than 24,000 conference registrants
- approximately 12,000 music festival wristband holders
- more than 35,000 single admissions to the film and music events
- more than 15,000 Flatstock poster show attendees (free-to-the-public, held during the SXSW Music Conference)
- 32,000 Town Lake Stage concert attendees (SXSW's largest free-to-the-public stage)
- more than 5,000 ScreenBurn gaming arcade attendees (free-to-the-public, held during SXSW Interactive)