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Obamas Keynote Speakers At SXSW

President and First Lady Obama were the keynote speakers for SXSW 2016. The President addressed SXSW Interactive attendees on March 11, and the First Lady spoke to the Music attendees on March 16.

This marks the first time in the 30-year history of SXSW that a sitting President and the First Lady have participated in the event.

On Friday, March 11, President Obama sat down with Evan Smith, CEO / Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune, for a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st Century before an audience of creators, early adopters and entrepreneurs who are defining the future of our connected lives. The President called on the audience to apply their ideas and talents to make technology work for us – especially when it comes to tackling big challenges like increasing participation in the political process and fighting climate change.

On Wednesday, March 16, First Lady Michelle Obama came to SXSW Music to discuss the Let Girls Learn initiative, which aims to break barriers for the 62 million girls around the world who are not in school today, more than half of whom are adolescent. The SXSW Music Conference offered the perfect platform to celebrate Women’s History Month, as the First Lady made a call to action to support girls’ education.

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SXSW featured live music in dozens of venues around Austin. Antone’s, the legendary Blues venue featured Leon Russell, Paul Oscher and Carl Weatherby. Country matriarch Loretta Lynn performed at Stubbs, and Wynona and Big Noise played The Gatsby along with Asleep at the Wheel. Up and coming acts played as openers for the legends, and smaller venues featured every genre of music you can imagine. For a complete lineup, visit sxsw.com.

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Part of the SXSW trade show was a Gibson-sponsored exhibition of Les Paul memorabilia. Listening stations let attendees hear the various guitars that led to the eventual development of the Les Paul model, including the legendary “Log” that Les built from a 4x4 post. Lester’s Living Room Lab showed his many projects that lead to many of the musical innovations still used in today’s recording studios like the first Ampeg multi-track recorder and his Echo-Plex foot pedal. Lots of gear and guitar makers, poster artists and various music industry companies were showing their wares and promoting their services.

Photos by Lori Ragsdell

 

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