Between name-checking Kendrick Lamar and penning essays on feminism, could there be a hipper president than Obama? Probably not, especially now that the White House is  hosting a music festival. The recently announced October 3rd event, South By South Lawn, will celebrate the “spirit of innovation” and is a spin-off of POTUS’ Spring appearance at South by Southwest where he participated in a conversation about the relationship between civic engagement and technology.

Happening almost a month before election day, SXSL will provide a positive distraction from the circus antics of the current political landscape. The one-day fest is presented by American Film Institute (AFI), the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities (PCAH), and South by Southwest. Comprised of three parts, the event will highlight and honor the creative thinkers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and organizers who are working to solve the country’s biggest challenges.

President Obama with Evan Smith at South by Southwest in March 2016. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy.

The interactive segment will feature panel discussions and booths that encourage attendees to learn more about new technologies and innovations. The film portion will present the 3rd Annual White House Student Film Festival in association with its founding partner, the American Film Institute. This year, students in grades K-12 submitted more than 700 short films to correspond to the theme. “The World I Want to Live In.” Last but definitely not least, will be the music section. Well-known and emerging artists who are using their music to inspire audiences will perform to the lucky crowd. The names of the musicians have yet to be revealed but if the President’s recent summer playlist is any indication, the lineup is sure to be an exciting one.

The White House has invited innovators and orchestrators of change to attend South by South Lawn. Think you fit the bill? Head over to the official website by September 10th to nominate yourself or another inspiring person to receive an invite.


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