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So Excited About SXSL Today!

The Forrest Four-Cast: October 3, 2016

I am proud to be in Washington DC today for the first-ever South by South Lawn. Festivities at the White House begin shortly after noon and continue until early evening. Speakers at today’s event include SXSW alums Stewart Butterfield and Anil Dash. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio will preside over the US premiere of his new film “Before the Flood” and will also engage in a climate-focused conversation with President Barack Obama. The Lumineers (plus a host of other great acts) will provide top-notch musical entertainment. This promises to be an incredibly special day!

SXSL is a clear reflection of the strong interest from Washington DC in what happens every March in Austin. This interest has also been reflected in the large number of speakers with Washington DC ties who have participated in SXSW over the last few years including Chelsea Clinton, Secretary Anthony Foxx, Congressman Darrell Issa, Michelle K Lee, Jennifer Pahlka, Senator Rand Paul, Secretary Penny Pritzker, Alec Ross, and US Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. The icing on the cake for this DC influx to Austin were the March 2016 speaking engagements at SXSW from both the President and the First Lady.

Why do so many from the Nation’s Capital migrate to Austin in March? Because an event like SXSW provides a great opportunity for lawmakers to learn from startups — and vice versa. Even more importantly, SXSW provides a great platform for lawmakers to encourage digital innovators and massively creative professionals to focus their talents on 21st century community activism. Such was the underlying theme for POTUS when he spoke at the Long Center last spring.

From local neighborhood organizers to mayors from some of America’s biggest cities to national (as well as international) government officials, look for another strong representation of policy-makers and policy-related sessions at SXSW 2017 (which is scheduled March 10–19 in Austin). Many of these speakers and sessions will be revealed via the SXSW website on our big 2017 announcement day of Monday, October 17. Save up to $400 on walk-up rates for next spring if you purchase your badge before the rate increase at the end of the day on Friday, October 21.

Follow the livestream of SXSL via whitehouse.gov.

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