Watch Out Texas! Tech Open Air Heads to SXSW

By Conor Rushby |

After a successful first running in Berlin last month, Tech Open Air (TOA) is set to take its ‘bold and edgy’ stylings to South by South West (SXSW) next March. The event, held in Austin Texas, is one of the largest festivals and conferences of its kind, showcasing the latest in independent film, music, and technology.

Partnering the Berlin Music Commission, TOA’s trip has the backing of the Berlin Senate. Organisers are looking for Berlin startups to accompany them on the trip and to show off what the city has to offer, while hopefully making contacts and encountering new ideas abroad.

For TOA founder Nikolas Woischnik, this is a case of taking their format to a similar event. He cites SXMW as a big source of inspiration and says he wants to create an “informal and open air event that could act as a bridge between technology, music and art: Categories that are increasingly moving together in Berlin.”

This summer’s TOA boasted 23 satellite events – but this time round, they will be a small fish in a big pond.

Hosted over ten days, organisers at SXSW hope to attract 50,000 attendees. The event includes three parts; music, film and interactive, with the SXSW Trade Show a great chance for tech companies to pitch their products and network. The festival also attracts with big music names, with Metallica playing a set earlier this year.

The city-states of Berlin and Hamburg, along with Initiative Musik, will be renting a house close to the festival to host their own satellite event, to celebrate the latest in the German startup scene. “The house will be used for workshops, matchmaking events and parties with an open bar on all days,” Niko adds, “while for Berlin startups, it could be a great way to connect with peers across the ponds as well as the big corporates who all have a presence there.”

Additionally, the Berlin Music Commission is offering special rates for Berlin startups who want to rent their own venue along with two subsidised accreditations per company. These will will allow access to the Trade Show and ensure a mention in the Berlin presentation’s publications, as well as 20 percent off individual access to the Interactive Festival, the Music Festival, and the Film Festival. The deadline for these subsidised tickets is November 9.