Companies from the West Midlands’ creative industries sector are heading to Texas this week for the one of the world’s most important media and music festivals.
Every year thousands of delegates from around the world converge on Austin for SXSW to meet, share ideas and make deals that will keep them at the forefront of new technology.
This year, 19 businesses from across the West Midlands will be attending as part of a joint trade mission with UK Trade & Investment, Advantage West Midlands and Screen West Midlands.
SXSW, which runs from March 12 to 21, is made up of presentations from the leading figures in emerging technology, music and film, with networking events hosted by industry leaders and special programmes showcasing the best new websites, video games and software. It also includes a high profile music event that is part conference, part festival with performers taking part in discussions during the day before taking to the stage at night.
There will be a strong West Midlands presence at the event with a UKTI, AWM and Screen West Midlands stand that will allow delegates to hold meetings and demonstrate their products and music.
Jonathan Webber, UK Trade & Investment’s West Midlands lead for the screen image and sound business cluster based at Birmingham Chamber, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the region’s creative talent at one of the pre-eminent media festivals in the world.
“We have some of the world’s leading software and games designers here in the region and they will be able to show what expertise we have here, which will hopefully encourage inward investment as international firms look to tap in to that talent.”
Kerry Thomas from Fused, the company that is leading the music delegation in Austin on behalf of UKTI West Midlands, said: “It’s the biggest event of its kind in the world and you know that whoever goes there is serious about the business. Everyone is on a level playing field so you could find yourself meeting people you’d never get the opportunity to see normally. Many of the companies we are taking this year have been before, which shows how beneficial to their business it can be.”
Lisa Meyer of Capsule, which organises the annual Supersonic festival in Birmingham, said: “This will be the fourth time we’ve been to SXSW and, for us, it’s an opportunity to network, meet bands and record labels and discover new talent that we can bring over for our event later in the year. We’re able to meet people face-to-face that we’ve only ever contacted by phone and e-mail before.
“We will also be unveiling ‘Home of Metal’, an online archive that will show the world that Birmingham and the West Midlands is the true birthplace of heavy metal. One of the highlights of that will be an interview we are doing with Lemmy from Motörhead, who hails from Stoke-on-Trent.”