The SXSW PanelPicker Encourages Community Engagement!

2015 SXSW PanelPicker Opens late June, 2014

The History: Launched in 2007

Over the years, many of the most compelling panels and presentations for the SXSW Music Conference have come directly from our community.

This process was formalized in 2007 with the PanelPicker an innovative online tool developed to offer the community the chance to become a greater part of SXSW, not only by submitting programming ideas, but also by reviewing, commenting and voting for those ideas they most want to see become a part of the event. In 2010, SXSW extended PanelPicker to include panel submission ideas for all three annual industry events (Music, Film, and Interactive), further enhancing the opportunity for the intersection of creative and professional minds at SXSW.

"The PanelPicker interface is a natural extension of the creative intermingling that takes place during the festival itself. We are excited that we can provide a forum for new ideas to debut and flourish year-round." -Roland Swenson, SXSW Managing Director

The Application Process

During the open application process, we encouraged the community to upload proposals for panels, solo presentations, workshops, etc. This application process is simple. Go to, select the correct conference for your presentation idea (Music, Film or Interactive), read the PanelPicker FAQ and fill out the form. About a month after the application deadline, all ideas received will be posted such that the online community can vote on which proposals they think are the best fit for the March event.

The Voting Process

During the voting period, we ask the SXSW community to weigh in on the proposals we have received for the upcoming season. Go to to create an account and get ready to vote beginning Monday, August 19 through Friday, September 6, 2013. Each registered voter can vote once per proposal, thumbs up or thumbs down. Don't forget to leave a constructive comment about what you do or do not like about the proposals you vote on.

The Decision: Voting + Staff + Advisory Board

While voting from the community is important, these totals are not the only factor in deciding SXSW programming. Also playing a large role in the decision-making process are the SXSW Advisory Boards and the SXSW staff. As illustrated by the graph at right, each of these three channels informs a percentage in determining the content lineup.

You - 30%

Who knows what you want to see at SXSW better than you? Your input matters.

SXSW Advisory Board - 40 %

A group of music business professionals from the U.S. and around the world, the SXSW Advisory board provides significant feedback on all submissions.

SXSW Staff - 30 %

With years of experience programming this event, SXSW staff weighs in with feedback and work to fill in any gaps in subject matter, strike a balance between new and veteran speakers, and research each presenter’s history and online presence.

"Our experience has proved that the PanelPicker interface is an invaluable way to connect with the thousands of professionals and informed consumers that make up the worldwide SXSW community. Not only does it help generate fresh ideas, it gives our participants an outlet to share with us what is most exciting, timely and relevant to them." -SXSW Interactive Festival Director, Hugh Forrest