South by Southwest opens — tech flourishes
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Stacey Vanek Smith: Today the South by Southwest festival kicks off in Austin. It’s long been known as a big music scene, where independent bands get discovered. But this year, the festival’s technical side is getting a lot of attention.
Jeff Tyler reports.
Jeff Tyler: South by Southwest is like three events in one: Music, film, and technology. More people register for the Interactive festival, even though it’s the most expensive of the three — at $950.
Hugh Forrest is director of the Interactive festival. He expects lots of entrepreneurs will introduce new companies.
Hugh Forrest: While the general economy is still rather sluggish, the start-up economy is very robust.
Austin hotels sell out months in advance, says economist Angelos Angelou.
Angelos Angelou: Not even half the people who come toAustin are able to be accommodated in area hotels.
He says that creates an opportunity for local entrepreneurs.
Angelou: I know of a lot of people – particularly empty-nesters – that, if they have an extra room or so in their home, they rent it.
Last year, festival organizers say South by Southwest brought $175 million into the local economy — and they expect this year will be even more profitable.
I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.