Last year, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made the pilgrimage to Austin, Tx. to the annual music, film, and tech conference and it must’ve made an impression on them, because, just a year later, they decided to recreate a version of it on the White House’s South Lawn yesterday. South by South Lawn—a truncated, day-long version of SXSW—included the typical things one would find at the Austin conference-cum-festival: music (Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, though Jones had to bow out, as she was sick with pneumonia; The Lumineers); panel discussions on civic topics throughout the day, and film (student films, and a screening of the new Leonardio DiCaprio global travelogue documentary on climate change called Before the Flood).
The invite-only event had a variety of attendees, from (lucky) local residents, to politico types, to celebrities like Common and Trent Reznor. A big highlight was the end of the night on the main stage when DiCaprio, President Obama, and Texas Tech University climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, held a conversation on climate change, discussing the current state of the issue, and ways that scientists and citizens are trying to combat the problem. Unlike SXSW, there weren’t any taco trucks, and the crowd was much smaller than what you would encounter in Austin, but this D.C.-spun version was still as exciting and educational.
More photos from the day can be found here.