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Top Ten Highlights of SXSW 2015

Another year of SXSW has come and gone! Many of us at Mercury Mambo attended, experienced and made Mambo Magic happen during the festival. With much to talk about and as the mayhem barely begins to fade we decided to bring together our Top Ten Ten list of observations, likes and shout-outs for your enjoyment and in case you missed.

1. The Latino Takeover Lives! – For years, one of the common SXSW complaints (besides long lines and few cabs) has been the lack of diversity across the festival. Well, this year, SXSW answered the call for more Latino representation by featuring over 150+ Latino-themed interactive panels, speakers, films and musical artists under the SXSW Americás umbrella. We see this is a HUGE first step in not only getting more Latino participants but as important, more Latino attendees.
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2. EDM and EDC – this year too marked a much more visible presence of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and EDC (Electronic Dance Culture). Highlights included electronic showcases, DJ performances and EDM session topics in both Interactive and music portions of the conference. Industry pioneer Beatport, hosted a house inviting EDM industry executives, DJs and enthusiasts to learn from global players during the day and of course, vibe to top DJs at night.
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3. #TeamINTERNET Winning! – This year more than ever, Internet celebrities ruled the school. Internet celebs included Nina Dobrev, with 4.5M Instagram followers, Bethany Mota, with 8.4M YouTube followers, who hit the streets and the tweets this year. Latino-fueled digital network mitú Networks brought Top Digitino influencers Maiah Ocando (370k YT followers), Chris Ordaz (188k YT), Oscar Miranda (390k Vine) and others to SXSW this year, hosting a competition pitting #teamVINE against #teamYOUTUBE to see who could distribute the most paletas as well as a mitú Dulceria (Candy Shop) on popular Rainey Street.
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4. Not Just for Grown-ups – Sunday morning we were blown away by a line wrapping around and down Rainey Street filled with teen girls, moms and dads. I was told by a bewildered father that the line was to see Internet star Bethany Mota, Tyler Oakley and other celebs hosted by Beautycon.com, an aggregator of all things Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and YouTube.  Other kid-friendly events included Moms Rock! SXSW Showcase hosted by Texas MILK (Mothers I’d Like to Know) and the popular Screen Burn Arcade Educational Video Game Play Dates, open to kids 5-13.
momsrock5. SXSW-Sports – Although we didn’t actually participate in this new festival offshoot, we saw some rather tall folks wandering around Bar Congress. With the convergence of sports and technology gaining more and more ground, I can only predict this will be the hot vertical at next year’s festival.

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6. Pitch To Win – This year we increasingly saw the opportunity for startups, innovators and entrepreneurs to win mula to launch their dreams and most importantly step onto a platform where many had the opportunity to network for resources, investors and partners.
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7. Food Truck Heaven – Everyone wants to be a food truck including big name brands. While there were plenty of “Free Food” spots during SXSW, many opted to try local food fusions at the SXSW Bites or throughout the festival – Nom nom nom
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8. SXSW Trade-show Keeps Getting Better – This year we felt like we were really exploring and discovering at this massive tech-showdown. From N.A.S.A. to beauty inspired external batteries, you wanted everything, found new solutions and made great connections.
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9. Favorite Lounge at the Convention Center: The PayPal Lounge – great conversations, plenty of space, food, drinks and most importantly coffee and ice cream! In addition, some cool live interviews with celebrities who were making pit stops to talk about their films or new projects!
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10. Lastly, we very much loved and saw in action the Meerkat app at panels! This app streams real-time video directly from your phone to your Twitter feed, which gave access to many to catch some amazing panels – hi-five to access!
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