South by Southwest festival begins, including fanfare for 'Grumpy Cat'

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by QUITA CULPEPPER

KVUE News Austin and Associated Press reports

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 9 at 10:12 AM

AUSTIN (AP) -- The South by Southwest Interactive and Film conferences are getting under way in Austin.

The first weekend of the annual festival attracts more than 24,000 people to the technology conference who will hear from PayPal founder Elon Musk and Matthew Inman, who developed the online comedy site "The Oatmeal."

Over 10 days, the festival will screen 270 independent films and 16,000 participants from 67 countries.

The musical portion of the festival begins next week and runs through March 17. More than 2,000 acts from around the world will stage more than 3,000 performances. Performers range from local gospel singers to European avant-garde musicians and from the internationally famous such as Green Day to local garage bands.

Organizers say the festival injects more than $190 million into the Austin-area economy annually.

Internet sensation Grumpy Cat is at the Mashable House starting Friday.

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