President Obama and first lady Michelle spoke at this year’s South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, and liked it so much they are bringing a smaller version to the White House.
The Obamas will host South by South Lawn on October 3, bringing together creators, innovators and organizers who work “to improve the lives of their fellow Americans and people around the world,” the White House said.
The conference is inspired by South by Southwest, known as SXSW, a 10-day festival of music, film and interactive technology. But the name of the White House conference also is a nod to the president’s own backyard: the South Lawn of the White House.
— Austin Statesman (@statesman) March 28, 2016
Like SXSW in Austin, South by South Lawn will feature musicians — famous and not-so-famous — and student films on the theme of “The World I Want to Live In.” And, of course, tech.
Careers and history are often made at SXSW. Artists John Mayer, Alabama Shakes, Foster the People and Imagine Dragons are among those who made it big after performing there. At SXSW 2007, Twitter famously “became a thing.” This year, Michelle Obama promoted Let Girls Learn and the world first heard the music of Tacocat.
The White House announced September 26 that David Adjaye, the British-Ghanaian designer of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, will kick off the event with James Turrell, who has spent the past 39 years turning the inside of an Arizona crater into artwork. Leonardo DiCaprio is scheduled to screen his new climate change documentary, “Before the Flood,” and talk with President Obama about protecting the planet for future generations. Civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis will discuss becoming a force for change.
Follow #SXSL to see which musician or innovation may get a big break at the White House.