SXSW Interactive offers the best in all things technology

The Interactive branch of SXSW is continuously overshadowed by the film and music portions of the annual festival but is not to be mistaken for anything less than fabulous. This year marks the 20th anniversary of SXSW Interactive, a tribute to innovation and technology, and includes five days of the usual speeches and panels, a gaming expo and trade show, and of course, more free parties than is humanly possible to attend. Here are a few events that made the grade as either riveting or hidden gems. Some require a badge and some do not.

Event Previews

New Standards for a New Era of Journalism

March 10

5-6 p.m. at the Hilton Austin Downtown

Craig Newmark, founder of free classifieds website Craigslist, will make yet another SXSW appearance, this time to speak about the future of journalism. Newmark, who was a keynote speaker at the festival in 2006, will discuss trends in the media along with Kelly McBride, a journalist from The Poytner Institute in Florida.

SXSW Gaming Expo

March 8: 3-9 p.m.

March 9-10: 12-8 p.m.

Palmer Events Center

The 2013 Gaming Expo includes three days of live music, technology demonstrations and of course, gaming culture. Nintendo and NASA along with more than 70 others will be at the exhibition March 8-10 at the Palmer Events Center. Many of the events, like the Expo itself, are free and open to the general public.

Highlights include a gaming tournament and two parties that are open to badge-holders and non-badge holders alike, the first being the SXSW Bonus Round Party on March 9 from 7-10 p.m. followed by the closing party on Sunday night. Indie bands Ra Ra Riot and Youngblood Hawke will take the stage at the Official SXSW Gaming Closing Party, March 10 from 7-10 p.m.

Free/Almost Free

Getting up before the sun during SXSW is absolutely worth the trouble for those who like live music without a hefty price tag. Austin radio staples KUTX and KGSR will hunker down at a few of Austin’s finest hotels to host live radio broadcasts four days in a row March 13-16.

The KUTX morning broadcasts cost $10 per person each day, and the price of the ticket includes a breakfast taco and coffee. The show starts at 7 a.m., and featured acts include folk singer-songwriter Josh Ritter and local indie rock band My Jerusalem. No badge necessary, but be sure to show up at the Four Seasons in downtown Austin early to get in line as seating is limited.

Across Congress, KGSR’s live broadcast runs an hour longer and costs five bucks a person, though breakfast is only guaranteed for the first 300 people who make it out to the W Hotel each morning.

Samuel Beam of Iron & Wine will make the trip out from Dripping Springs to perform March 13 and likely play a few songs from Ghost on Ghost, the band’s latest album set to release April 16. Emmylou Harris, ZZ Ward, Third Eye Blind, and Bob Schneider will also play sets, which will last about 25 minutes each.