We checked out the best of the fest, including fitness, networking, and music events. Here are some of our favorites from SXSW.
Under Armour HOVR House and Run
Under Armour launched an innovative shoe line, HOVR, back in February. With HOVR’s sensor technology, detailed data including stride length, cadence, distance, pace, and shoe life syncs directly from the shoes to MapMyRun. The cushioning technology also delivers strong responsiveness with energy return. To celebrate the new footwear, they brought their HOVR House activation to SXSW (this was its third stop, after Shanghai and LA). The immersive experience allowed visitors to touch the product and chat with the experts behind the new shoes. The following morning, we got to try out the shoes ourselves on a three- to six-mile run (depending on the route you chose) around Lady Bird Lake. The Austin Fit team loved both styles but recommend the Sonic for serious runners and the Phantom more as a stylish shoe for walking and lower-impact activities. The run was followed by a boozy brunch in the sun back at the HOVR House.
CaringCrowd is the only crowdfunding platform completely dedicated to public health projects that does not charge a fee to use. Project owners can find donors who want to support public health projects around the world. One project that stood out to us was that of Lindsey Hagen, where she raised funds to make a film that benefited underserved amputees in Ecuador. Learn more about CaringCrowd and watch Hagen’s video at caringcrowd.org/make-film-benefit-underserved-amputees-ecuador/
Headspace and Nike
Nike and Headspace are adding-audio guided mindful runs—the first of their kind—to the Nike Run Club app's (NRC) arsenal of audio guided runs (AGRs). This is the first time Nike has added co-branded partner content into the NRC app.
The first three are in the app now and feature Coach Bennett, Headspace co-founder (and voice of the app) Andy Puddicombe, and Olympic steeplechaser and Nike athlete Colleen Quigley. What sets these apart from Nike’s other guided runs is that in addition to getting effort-based running instruction, you’ll also learn how to unlock strength and peace from within.
The Power.Plant. by Vega
Vega kept the calories churning and burning throughout SXSW at their Power Plant activation at Clive Bar in the Rainey Street bar district. Local instructors from Heat Bootcamp, Wanderlust Yoga, Sphere, and Rō Fitness provided free classes all week long. Vega provided premium giveaways including protein snacks and workout tanks. The activities went late into the night with parties and performances by Biz Markie and Son Little along with DJ sets by Lowly Worm and Kesey O’Doherty. The AFM team especially loved the living walls and greenery hanging from the pergola—the space felt like an oasis away from the chaos of SXSW, and we were grateful for it all week long!
Capital One House
SXSW always provides great opportunities for networking, casual gatherings, and live music. With its exclusive music lineup including Warpaint, Matt and Kim, Benjamin Booker and Shakey Graves, the Capital One House at Antone’s was one of our favorite spots for late night fun during SXSW Interactive.
Luck Reunion presented by Southwest
SXSW festivities concluded for the Austin Fit team with a more intimate, Americana experience at Luck Reunion. We took refuge from downtown SXSW and drove out to Willie Nelson’s private home and ranch in Luck, Texas. We relaxed over good food, libations, and music. The Austin Food & Wine Alliance brought a stellar lineup of culinary favorites to the festival, including fried hot chicken sandwiches and mac and cheese from Milo, beer garden artisan sausages from Salt & Time, pomme frites from Second Bar & Kitchen, BBQ from Leroy & Lewis, wild boar frito pies from Mixtli, vegan bites from Puli Ra, paletas from Cold Ones, and so much more. We made handcrafted leather luggage tags by Odin Leather Goods, courtesy of Southwest, and enjoyed checking out local vendors like Limbo Jewelry, Triple Z Threadz, High Class Hillbilly, Worth & Worth, and Ft. Lonesome. Festival acts included Devon Gilfillian, Nikki Lane, Josh Ritter, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, and dozens more—led, of course, by WIllie Nelson & the Family Band.
The Experience presented by Dell Technologies
Panel: Social Good ARTivists: Using Craft to Power Cause
Computers, conservation, and creativity came together on March 11 when Dell held a "Social Good ARTivists" panel with renowned artist Benjamin Von Wong. They showcased Von Wong's newest work and featured other local young entrepreneurs. Fashion entrepreneurs Sloan Lenz and Najai McKenzie-Robinson, producer Ben Mirin, and photographer Colby Brown joined Dell's Chief Responsibility Officer, Trisa Thompson, on stage to talk about how their art helps inspire social good. Also on display was the latest in VR, gaming, and Dell's powerful (and gorgeous) XPS 13 rose gold notebook—but Dell clearly used their SXSW presence this year to elevate small businesses and young entrepreneurs.
Create + Cultivate ATX Pop-Up
This LA-based media company hosted a conference at the Refinery in downtown Austin on March 11. The day kicked off with morning meditation and a mentor power hour with Sarah Kunst, Ashley Rose (Sugar & Cloth), Simone de la Rue (Body By Simone), Brandy Pham, Jen Pinkston, Maxie McCoy, and Sanetra Longno (Unravel Co.). Fossil provided a pop-up shop at Frankie Jean and a headshot photo op, Chillhouse provided a nail bar, and R+Co did hair touch-ups. Panels took place all day on career and life blance. Notable panelists included Brooklyn Decker, Camila Alves, Mary Lawless-Lee (happilygrey.com), and actress/director, Gina Rodriguez. Biggest takeaways? Stay humble, be consistent, work hard, collaborate, ask for help, and be kind.
"How Real Food Can Change Your Life and World" Panel
Melissa Hartwig from Whole30, Derek Flanzraich from Greatist, and Lee Tilghman from Lee From America made for a compelling trio. While the panel indicated a discussion about nutrition, it quickly became clear that it’s not really about the food. Panelists dove into how social media has its pros and cons, but that—more importantly—how you use it is in your control and can ultimately determine its effect. It was clear that Melissa and Lee had different views on how to approach one's relationship with food, and the diversion in opinions made for a less biased viewpoint from two prominent influencers in the nutrition and wellness sphere. When it came time for FAQ, it was clear that these two women had both influenced the lives of many audience members in various and lasting ways.
Bumble Presents SXSW: Empowering Connections
This was our favorite free event open to the public. Located in the trendy and spacious Fair Market, attendees got to walk around to interactive and IG-worthy stations. Speakers including Whitney Wolfe Herd, Gina Rodriguez, Keke Palmer, and Rachel Zoe spoke throughout the weekend. Free drinks and tasty bites were also available, as well as a goodie bag that you could fill as you walked around to the different activities that focused on empowering connections. The pop rock band HAIM—made up of three sisters—also put on a killer show on Saturday!