Hundreds of thousands of young, successful creatives will descend on Austin, Texas for South by Southwest 2018 this weekend.

The annual SXSW Conference provides access to the brightest minds in the worlds of entertainment, business and politics, while also offering plenty of opportunities for professionals to network and unwind.

Bringing together the entertainment industry with its hugely popular Interactive, Film and Music festivals, as well as its increasingly popular comedy and gaming additions, 2017 was the most successful year in the festival’s history, attracting a crowd of 422,000 attendees.

With a 10 day schedule full of top talents, from global celebrities to up-and-coming acts, South by Southwest 2018 could be the biggest conference yet.

More than 6,000 sessions will be held at SXSW 2018. The full schedule can be viewed here, but to make it a little easier, Verdict has picked out a few of its favourites.

Politics

Jake Tapper in Conversation with Bernie Sanders –

Expected to run against President Trump in the 2020 United States presidential election, popular US Senator Bernie Sanders will sit down with CNN journalist Jake Tapper to discuss the future of the country.

Friday, 9 March – 12:30-1:30pm – Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D

View details here

Arnold Schwarzenegger Joins POLITICO’s Off Message –

Movie-star-turned-Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger meets Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere to discuss life after politics, the future of America and how his successor can emulate his success.

Sunday, 11 March – 12:30-1:30pm  – Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon H

View details here

Convergence Keynote: Ta-Nehisi Coates –

Best-selling author, hard-hitting journalist and Marvel Comics scribe Ta-Nehisi Coates will meet with editor-in-chief of The Atlantic to talk through the experiences that have shaped his life, delving into politics, comics books and everything in between.

3 Things That Will Change the World Today

Saturday, 10 March – 2:00-3;00pm – Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D

View details here

Business

Interactive Keynote: Melinda Gates –

Stacy Brown-Philpot of TaskRabbit, Joanna Coles of Hearst Magazines and Nina Shaw, owner of Del Shaw Moonves Taaka Finkelstein & Lezcano law corporation, and famed philanthropist Melinda Gates will discuss the changing American workplace, as new tech and  social movements cause change.

Sunday, 11 March – 2:00:3:00pm – Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D

View details here

Navigating the Video Revolution in the Digital Age –

Following a difficult start to 2018 for video sharing platform YouTube, company CEO Susan Wojcicki will have plenty to talk about at SXSW. Taking to the stage with Wired journalist Nicholas Thompson, Wojcicki will discuss responsibility, originality and innovation at YouTube.

Tuesday, 13 March – 5:00-6:00pm – Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D

View details here

Reddit: Life After (Near) Death –

Given that the majority of people at SXSW are young social media users, Steve Huffman, co-founder of discussion board Reddit, should be of interest to SXSW’s 400,000+ attendees. Having left Reddit in 2005 and returned in 2015, Huffman will reveal the steps that he took to bring his creation back from the brink.

Monday, 12 March – 12:30-1:30pm – Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon H

View details here

Film

The Director and the Jedi –

An intimate documentary delving into director Rian Johnson’s time on the set of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Seated alongside Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill, you will get an insight into Johnson’s trials and tribulations, ability to cope with a star-studded cast and the reasoning behind some of his more surprising storyline decisions.

Monday, 12 March – 11:00am-1:15pm – Paramount Theatre

View details here

Final Portrait –

Based on American writer James Lord’s memoirs, director Stanley Tucci offers his take on the touching and offbeat friendship between Lord and famed artist Alberto Giacometti. Lord experiences joy, frustration and understanding as he sits and waits for his friend to complete one of his final masterpieces.

Friday, 9 March – 6:00-7:30pm – Stateside Theatre
Saturday, 10 March – 9:00-10:30pm – Satellite Venue: AFS Cinema

View details here

Isle of Dogs –

Directed by the revered Wes Anderson and starring big names such as Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum, this stop-motion film sees a young boy venture out on an epic journey to reconnect with his pet pooch after an outbreak of disease sees all dogs banished to an island on trash.

Saturday, 17 March – 8:00-9:40pm – Paramount Theatre

View details here

Music

DMC –

One part of former American group Run-DMC will take to the stage at SXSW. Darryl McDaniels, now known as DMC, will take to the stage next Friday to perform a 40 minute set. No details have been provided, but expect McDaniels’ to wind back the clock.

Friday, 16 March – 11:00-11:30pm – Clive Bar

View details here

Action Bronson –

Hip-hop will take centre stage in Austin and heavyset rapper Action Bronson will be one of the heavy hitters. The rapping author/actor/talk show host, whose love of food is well documented, will perform a 40 minute set at the Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden.

Thursday, 15 March – 12:00-12:40am – Banger’s

View details here

A Conversation with Keith Urban –

If you’re not one for late night gigs, Keith Urban will be taking to the SXSW stage at a more suitable hour. The four-time Grammy Award won’t be performing his country hits. However, he will spend an hour discussing his career and many successes.

Friday, 16 March – 12:30-1:30pm – Austin Convention Center, Room 18ABCD

View details here

Comedy

Bernie Sanders Town Hall –

Shortly after Bernie Sanders sits down with Jake Tapper, the popular politician will return to the stage to hold a Town Hall, acted out by impressionist James Adomian of Long Handshake Productions.

Friday, 9 March – 8:00-9:30pm – Esther’s Follies

View details here

Butterboy –

A comedic trio of Jo Firestone, Aparna Nancherla and Maeve Higgins will host a night of comedy featuring some of the funniest faces in the industry, including Comedy Central star Matteo Lane and The Daily Show’s Roy Wood Jr.

Sunday, 11 March – 10:00-11:30pm – Esther’s Follies

View details here

Joe Pera Talks with You –

SXSW will provide a sneak peek of Adult Swim’s new live-action comedy show. Pera will be joined by a host of established acts and up-and-comers, including Jo Firestone, Conner O’Malley and John Reynolds, for a night of live stand-up to showcase what Joe Pera Talks with You will offer.

Friday, 9 March – 7:00-8:30pm – The Hideout

Joe Pera Talks With You

South by Southwest 2018: All the details

Held in Austin, Texas, South by Southwest 2018 will get underway on Friday, 9 March. Sessions will be held at various venues around the city. However, most will be taking place at the Austin Convention Center.

A total of 6004 sessions are scheduled for the film, music and interactive media conference. These will be spaced out over a total of 10 days, with SXSW eventually coming to a close on Sunday, 18 March.

Tickets are still available via the SXSW website. As the conference is split into three parts, individual tickets are required for the Film, Music and Interactive sections of SXSW. Each ticket costs $1,350, but also grants access to the SXSW Gaming, SXSW Create, SXSW Job Market sessions. Alternatively, Platinum tickets are available at a cost of $1,650. These permit access to all 6,000 SXSW 2018 sessions.