The team behind South By Southwest has come up with an appropriately tech-savvy way for festival attendees (or interested parties anywhere) to stay informed about events, locations, and news: they've created a SXSW-specific text messaging system that, if it works, could really revolutionize the way festivals are attended. In addition to being able to subscribe to what is essentially an SMS newsfeed consisting of "general updates and alerts" about the festival, the system also provides an extensive series of keywords that, when sent to the proper number, get festival attendees information about everything from screenings to Austin's best sushi; from concerts to panel discussions.

So now, rather than carrying around a laptop and obsessing over web searches, users can find out where a given screening is taking place on their cell phones. Want more? You can even vote for the festival's audience award via text message which, while it's ripe for corruption (I imagine an SMS snow-chain type system, set up by a clever director), is still pretty damn cool.

[via Matt Dentler]