Attendees at this year’s SXSW Interactive on March 13. Credit: Rodolfo Gonzalez / AMERiCAN-STATESMAN
The narrative that South by Southwest 2015 was less crowded than usual may have been more perception that reality; in truth, the entire festival grew by 4,849 attendees, according to attendance numbers released on Wednesday morning by the festival.
In total, 4,849 more people attended SXSW Music, Film and Interactive in 2015 than in 2014, 84,385 people this year versus 79,536. The story this year may be that while Interactive continues to grow — it has been a big driver of growth at SXSW since about 2007 — Film and Music were the legs of the festival with the most growth.
SXSW Interactive’s attendance grew from 32,798 last year to 33,825 for 2015, about 3 percent growth. Meanwhile, SXSW Music added nearly 2,000 attendees, growing from 27,991 in 2014 to 30,308, about 8 percent. Film grew from 18,747 to 20,252 this year, about 8 percent.
Feelings that the festival was less crowded this year may have been due to more venue space at the JW Marriott, which opened earlier this year, and provided more panel and social space for SXSW.
Last year, it appeared at first that SXSW Interactive attendance had dropped for the first time in about a decade,but it turned out those numbers were incorrect, and the festival actually grew by about 7 percent. Here are the rest of the attendance figures since the fest began: