The South by Southwest Festival has announced today that both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will both appears as part of their high-powered keynote section at this year’s upcoming annual festival. The president will appear as part of a "Keynote Conversation" at the Interactive arm of the festival on March 11, while the First Lady will deliver the opening Keynote at SXSW Music on March 16. As the festival notes in its official press release, "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, which is known for showcasing the most innovative ideas and creative talent of our time."
For the Keynote Conversation, President Obama will sit down with Texas Tribune editor-in-chief Evan Smith "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 will call 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." The Tribune will also early source questions from its readership to ask during the chat. The event will be open to all SXSW Interactive, Gold, and Platinum registrants.
The First Lady will be discussing her Let Girls Learn initiative at the Music Keynote. Her Keynote will be open to all SXSW Music, Film, Gold, and Platinum registrants.
Of the news, SXSW Co-founder Roland Swenson said in a statement that "I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate our event’s 30th year than to welcome both the President and First Lady to SXSW…As each new generation comes up at SXSW they look for ways they can be of service, and it’s important to reflect and support that message. President and Mrs. Obama’s visit here will inspire attendees to that purpose."
Further details will be available in the coming days. South by Southwest runs from March 11 – 20, and is broken into Interactive, Film and Music sections.