AUSTIN, Texas — A giant cutout of the tribal war shield from the Oklahoma flag greets you as soon as you step inside the Buffalo Lounge in Austin.
It's an odd site considering you're in the heart of Texas, but once inside, you are greeted by even more reminders of the Sooner State and its talented and intrepid musicians, filmmakers and innovators.
After starting at the 2010 South By Southwest festival, the Buffalo Lounge has grown every year. This year, more than 40 bands will take to two stages inside The 512 bar on Sixth Street.
Ginger Roddick, a partner with the Oklahoma City-based creative firm The Idea Collective, said Buffalo Lounge has grown exponentially the past three years and that she thinks this year it will have the best gathering yet.
“We are really amazed at our turnout,” Roddick said. “We are just happy so many people took advantage of being around some really Oklahoma bands, thinkers and moviemakers.”
A lot of the focus this year has been placed on the film and interactive portions of SXSW, with hopes that the Buffalo Lounge will help promote Oklahoma's growing industry and support economic growth in the state's cultural department.
“I think we are at a crossroads,” said Jill Simpson, Oklahoma Film and Music Office director. “The vision has been evolving, and I feel like we are just now really poised to not only have this at SXSW but to have events in Oklahoma as well and not only to showcase talent and provide a performance space but to do some education components and some business skills and incubation. We are just trying to grow it every year.”