Friday marked the first day of the annual South by Southwest interactive festival (SXSWi). Thousands of people will be on hand in Austin, Texas, for five days of keynotes, panels, and many other forms of discussions about all topics interactive.
Every participant gets a bag full of literature, buttons, and other goodies. Here, a sea of the bags that have yet to be handed out lay on the floor in the Austin Convention Center.
After filling the bags up and laying them down in giant piles on the floor, SXSW volunteers take them and put them on racks, from which they are handed to participants.
The SXSW film and music festivals are taking place over the next week, and participants of each festival get a different bag. Those with gold badges can attend any film or interactive session and get both bags. Those with platinum badges can attend all three festivals and end up with three bags.
The bags each participant is given are full of all kinds of literature, buttons, and the like, and all around the Austin Convention Center, you can find people sitting and sifting through the bags, looking to see what's inside.
Immediately after picking up their bags, many people stand at a nearby table and go through them, deciding what they want to keep and what they don't. The result is a big pile of literature and other materials that is left behind. However, the event provides recycling nearby so that the materials aren't thrown in the garbage.
Appropriately for a gathering of thousands of geeks, there are all kinds of gadgets on display at any moment. Here, two people sit by five different Netbook-type machines. Note that this photo was taken before the iPad becomes available.
Taken high above these participants, this photo also showcases how much technology SXSW attendees have with them. Here, we can see seven mobile devices, including four iPhones, as well as five laptops.