South by Southwest Launches SXSW Online XR

Photo: Michael Brown

South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals (16 to 20 March 2021) has unveiled the SXSW Online XR world and programming as part of the 2021 event. The condensed, fantastical artist representations of Congress Avenue and the Red River Cultural District, using the SXSW 2021 look and feel, will showcase live panels, Meet Ups, special events, a selection of 360° videos from the Virtual Cinema programme, as well as 2D video feeds of SXSW programming.

Venues recreated in the space include The Paramount Theatre, the Contemporary Austin, Mohawk, Empire Control Room & Garage, and Cedar Street Courtyard. SXSW worked with world-renowned artists and the social XR events studio VRrOOm to design and produce the festival’s virtual edition, which will be hosted on VRChat.

The complete Virtual Cinema Programme, including previously-announced Virtual Cinema Competition and Virtual Cinema Spotlight projects, will also be accessible and downloadable via the VRrOOm store online. The VRChat worlds can be experienced on PC, PCVR and Oculus Quest headsets.

“SXSW really wanted to create a space in the virtual world that brought Austin to life in a spectacular way,” said XR and Film Programmer, Blake Kammerdiener. “So we came together with Louis Cacciuttolo and his company VRrOOm, whose recent work includes Welcome to The Other Side with Jean-Michel Jarre, and artist Vincent Masson to create this fantastical virtual space that honors Austin, and a few of the venues that we are gutted to not be using this year.”

“Attendees can come together, explore these worlds, and watch content created specifically for the VR world and from the greater SXSW Online video channels,” Kammerdiener continued. “Stop by the Paramount Theatre to snap a picture on the red carpet with your friends or head on over to the Red River Cultural District for a party. Be sure to find virtual Theon Cross rocking his tuba or stop by the Contemporay’s rooftop bar to catch a live session.”

SXSW Online XR will also present a wide array of work outside of the VRChat world, including special live theatre performances of Finding Pandora X from Double Eye Studios and Dream from the Royal Shakespeare Company and Marshmallow Laser Feast.

View the full SXSW Online XR programme online at