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From Bristol to Austin - SxSW 2016

Published on Tuesday, 23rd June 2015

If you’ve always wanted to visit the world’s largest interactive festival in Austin Texas, but not had the time to get your head around it, Bristol Media are here to help!

Following his adventure into deepest Austin in March this year, Bristol Media Board Director Chris Thurling has been spreading the word about the world’s largest interactive festival SxSW in the hope of encouraging a bigger Bristol and Bath based delegation to visit in 2016. 

Chris described his experience as one of the best things he’s done in his career to date. “It’s a fantastic chance to step outside your own world for a few days; there’s a real sense that if you are in our industry, this is the annual centre of the universe!  It reminded me that we are operating in a global market and that our competitors of the future are just as likely to be from Texas as they are from Birmingham.”

Some of the highlights included Steve Case, the founder of AOL on the third wave of the internet; Al Gore on climate change; Biz Stone, the founder of Twitter and Medium on the fusion between creativity and technology, and the moment when Paul Archer, resident at Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio, won a pitch to a panel of global businesses and ended the day with L’Oreal and Unilever fighting to work with him!

Chris had gone to SxSW with colleague James Ray, MD of Armadillo, and Sam Westlake and Tom Quay from Base in Bournemouth and felt that the shared experience really made the trip for him. The three were able to meet up at various times during the day to share what they had seen and heard, talk about where they were going to next, and to share a few beers over supper at the end of the day.

This shared experience inspired Chris to urge some of Bristol’s creative and digital agencies to join a delegation next year and we so far have around 40 people who are interested.

Chris and James made some great contacts in Austin who have been offering their advice on how to make the most of the festival and importantly, how to manage the travel arrangements and logistics.

With their help on the ground in Austin, Bristol Media are now able to offer a group booking package, including SxSW passes, a downtown hotel close to the Convention Centre and BA flights, making the whole process quicker and easier for any members who might like to join the group from Bristol.  It’s quite a commitment in financial terms for a small agency, but Chris is steadfast in his belief that everything you learn and experience at SxSW which you can then bring back to your business, is worth every cent.

If you’d like to find out more, email or