SXSW Adds Pete Buttigieg as 2021 Keynote Speaker

Saint Pete Buttigieg (Win McNamee / Getty)
Win McNamee / Getty

South by Southwest (SXSW) — the annual film, media, and music festival in Austin, Texas — has added U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to its lineup of keynote speakers.

Buttigieg joins Priya Parker, host of the New York Times podcast “Together Apart,” and Charles Yu, author of Interior Chinatown, as the keynote lineup at SXSW, according to a report by Deadline.

“The three Keynote Speakers we’re announcing today are a perfect complement to our Conference lineup for SXSW Online 2021,” ‎SXSW chief programming officer Hugh Forrest said.

“Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg will emphasize SXSW’s continued focus on how technological innovations are transforming mobility,” he added.

Forrest went on to mention that filmmaker Ava DuVernay, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, and former president George W. Bush have also been added to the lineup.

“Bush is the third president to speak in our conference, is part of what makes SXSW special and we look forward to everyone being able to experience what we’ve put together for this event,” Forrest said.

SXSW has also previously announced sessions from failed Georgia gubernatorial Democrat candidate Stacey Abrams, as well as music icon Willie Nelson. The online version of the SXSW conference and festival is set to take place on March 16 through 20.

Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, received copious media attention during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary but underperformed at the ballot box. A documentary about his failed campaign will soon be distributed by Amazon Studios.

The former mayor was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Transportation soon after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, despite his meager prior experience in either infrastructure or transportation matters. During his tenure in office, Buttigieg struggled to come up with a proper solution to the persistent potholes on his city’s streets.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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