The 2010 South by Southwest conferences - Music, Film, and Interactive - all pulled in higher numbers of registrants than in 2009, making for one of the best attended years in SXSW history.
South by Southwest began in 1987 with a music conference that attracted 700 attendees. That conference has continued to grow, recently hitting 12,000 attendees and now surpassing 13,000. In 1994 the Film Festival and Interactive Conference were added to the schedule.
The 2010 Music and Media Conference attracted 13,022 registrants, South by Southwest told Relaxnews. That number is up from 11,687 estimated attendees in 2009, an increase of about 11 percent. The Interactive Festival grew nearly 33 percent, from 10,741 in 2009 to 14,251 in 2010, and the Film Conference attendance grew from 7,144 to 9,505, an increase of 33 percent. 2009 had reportedly seen the first drop in attendance in the conference's history, attributed to the recession.
At the 2010 Music and Media Conference, 1981 bands from 55 countries performed; in 2009, 1987 bands from 49 countries were on the lineup.
About 100,000 people were expected to swarm Austin during the 2010 festival week. In 2009, those tourists were responsible for injecting approximately $99 million into the Austin economy, according to South by Southwest.