Tulsa to Have Expanded Presence at South by Southwest

Feb 26, 2020

Credit Tulsa Office of Film, Music Arts and Culture

Tulsa will have a bigger footprint this year at the annual conference and festival South by Southwest.

The Austin, Texas, event is best known for its celebration of the technology, film, and music industries. Tulsa Regional Tourism President Ray Hoyt said getting Tulsa’s name out into the world is the goal.

"It’s all about engagement and making sure that we’re part of that story, because if we’re not there, the story’s not being told. So, it’s really about us telling Tulsa’s story as a sense of place, of community, as a destination for all these creative opportunities," Hoyt said.

Hoyt said VisitTulsa leads a contingent to South by Southwest to attract more people to visit and move to Tulsa.

Aaron Bolzle is executive director of Tulsa Remote, an organization that provides grants and benefits to workers who move to Tulsa. He said new technologies are changing the way talent is discovered.

"Historically, talent went where the jobs were. Now, jobs go where the talent is, and the talent wants to be part of an exciting, creative vibrant community and there are so many efforts that are happening in Tulsa right now to make it the city that they’re looking for not only today, but tomorrow," Bolzle said.

In addition to Tulsa Remote, representatives from the Gathering Place and the Hulberton School will be at South by Southwest.

Tulsa will also have a larger musical presence at the festival this year, including several new musicians that will perform. Hip-hop artist Ayilla said she is proud to be representing Tulsa through her music at the festival.

"We have a big genre of hip-hop in Tulsa that people don’t know about, and it’s different types, whether you like the lyrical, the intellectual. So, we have a little bit of everything," Ayilla said.

The Tulsa Music Showcase will be March 19 and features musical acts like Casii Stephan, Branjae, Paul Benjamin and Tulsa-based rock band BRONCHO.

Tulsa is one of only four cities with an official music showcase at South by Southwest.

2020 will be Tulsa’s sixth year at South by Southwest, which runs March 13–22.