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An Electrifying SXSW Draws to a Close

By Mary Lee
|  Monday, Mar 22, 2010  |  Updated 11:00 AM CDT
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The South by Southwest festival officially ended Sunday. This year's festival brought out record crowds for the interactive, film and music portions. The huge crowds also spent a lot of money, helping to boost Austin's economy and local businesses.

Celebrities showed up at this year's film festival. Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, and Joan Jett appeared at the Paramount Theater to promote their new movie "The Runaways." Legendary actors Bill Murray, Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek attended the screening of their new movie "Get Low" at the Paramount.

SXSW Interactive Festival drew in web developers, designers, bloggers, wireless innovators, content producers, programmers, widget inventors and new media entrepreneurs from around the world. The five day festival showcased the latest ideas and innovations of the future.

This year's SXSW Music Festival showcased nearly 2,000 musical acts from around the world. Musicians performed on more than 80 stages in downtown Austin.

The 24th annual South By Southwest Closing Barbecue and Softball Tournament will close out the festival. The traditional closing social event will run from 12:30-5:30pm Sunday. It is free for all SXSW Music and Platinum registrants.

"We're just as surprised as anybody else by the way things are going," said Mike Shea, Former SXSW Director. "Last year was our biggest year and this year we're on track to top even that. So we're really pleased."

At the airport, there were long lines on the last day of festival.

Courtenay Green and her band "See Green" from Los Angeles are leaving Austin after their first SXSW experience.

"I think it's a great city," said Green. "It seems to care a lot about music. There was just a genuine sense of support."

Several staff and volunteers capped things off with a game of softball.

"I think it went fabulously," said Nanette Labastida, SXSW Softball Commissioner. "There were more crowds than ever, but I didn't hear much backlash, just amazing bands."

The festival's co-founder Nick Barbaro never imagined it would ever get this big.

"Our mindset was to provide a place for people to come and visit and talk about the music business, and there wasn't an internet at that point," said Barbaro.

Barbaro is amazed to see what SXSW has turned into, calling this year another success.

"It's kinda of funny to do a big event like this," said Barbaro. "I judge it by how many things go wrong. Nothing blew up. No one died. It was a good event!"

Austin Music Awards wrap SXSW festival

The Austin Music Awards rocked downtown Saturday night as a capper event for the SXSW Music Festival. Traditionally this event kicked-off the festival, but this year it closed the annual event.

Organizers hoping to provide a big crescendo to the weekend. And also some of the big winners at this years awards. Local favorite Bob Schneider taking home 6 awards, including song of the year for 40 Dogs, Singer of the Year, and Band of the Year.

Cactus Cafe may be closing down on U-T Campus but it did get some love at the awards show,  winning Best Acoustic Venue. And for the morning radio crowd, 101-Xs Deb OKeefe won Radio personality of the Year.

"Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears" finally took the stage late Saturday. Organizers called the big name musicians an "All Star Soul Jam."

This article appears courtesy of KXAN.com.

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