White House to host its own South By Southwest-style event

This year, the White House is planning its own version of South by Southwest, the festival that brings techies, musicians and filmmakers to Austin each year.
President Barack Obama participates in a discussion with Texas Tribune Editor CEO Evan Smith during the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 11. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

The White House is planning its own version of South by Southwest, the festival that brings techies, musicians and filmmakers to Austin, Texas, each year.

The administration Oct. 3 is hosting its first South by South Lawn, which will be broken up into interactive, film and music tracks.

The South by South Lawn event’s interactive section will include panel discussions exploring topics like “how to make change stick with organizers who are having an impact,” according to a blog post. There will also be booths for attendees to learn about “new technologies and innovations.”

“South by South Lawn will challenge young leaders to build on our progress toward an America that is more tolerant, fair and full of opportunities,” Jason Goldman, chief digital officer of the White House, wrote in the blog post.


When President Barack Obama spoke earlier this year at SXSW Interactive, he pushed the technology community to come work for the government.

“The reason I’m here really is to recruit all of you,” Obama said at the conference in a conversation with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith. “It’s to say to you as I’m about to leave office — ‘How can we start coming up with new platforms, new ideas, and new approaches across disciplines and across skill sets to solve some of the big problems we’re facing today?'”

[Read more: Obama’s call to the country: We need you to code]

The film section will be based around the White House’s annual Student Film Festival, and the music section will have performances from “well-known and emerging artists who are using their music to inspire audiences.”

The White House is calling for people to nominate potential attendees.

Samantha Ehlinger

Written by Samantha Ehlinger

Samantha Ehlinger is a technology reporter for FedScoop. Her work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and several McClatchy papers, including Miami Herald and The State. She was a part of a McClatchy investigative team for the “Irradiated” project on nuclear worker conditions, which won a McClatchy President’s Award. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University. Contact Samantha via email at, or follow her on Twitter at @samehlinger. Subscribe to the Daily Scoop for stories like this in your inbox every morning by signing up here:

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