The organizers went into action after the tragic events of March 11, in which a driver of a car slammed into innocent bypassers, killing 2 and injuring 23, after crossing a police barricade. The event organizers set up a fund, SXSW Cares Fund, a part of Austin Community Foundation, to aid the people affected. The fund had grown to $60,000 by March 16, the last day of the conference. According to the Web site, the funds will be disbursed to those most affected through a community-based process to be created by representatives of SXSW, the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the City of Austin with the Austin Community Foundation.


Even the promotional products industry went into defense mode after swag gathered at the conference by attendees was accused of delaying screening of luggage as people left Austin-Bergstrom International Airport last week. When a Palo Alto technology firm reportedly claimed that “most of the [SXSW] freebies end up in the attic, if not the trash,” Promotional Products Association International President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, issued a statement that said, “It turns out the news reports of delays at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport were due to the fact that SXSW event-goers were actually taking their promotional products home and not trashing them.”
He went on to say, “Regarding the tech firm’s claim that ‘most of the SXSW freebies end up in the attic or trash,’ PPAI and the promotional products industry wholly support the donation of unused promotional products to help those in need and are glad the Austin-based Foundation for the Homeless is the beneficiary of the generosity and compassion of SXSW attendees and its marketers.”

Austin Solidified as “Live Music Capital of the World” 
The music event alone has grown from 700 registrants in 1987 to more than 25,000 conference participants, according to the conference Web site. “SXSW's original goal was to create an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas. That continues to be the goal today whether it is music, film or the interactive technologies. And Austin continues to be the perfect location,” say the organizers.