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Amplify Philly is focused on building ‘intentional’ connections and finding new ways to showcase Philadelphia in 2024

The org will return to SXSW next month with a lineup of events. For the rest of the year, Michelle Freeman and co. will be focused on B. PHL and convening remote workers.

The Amplify Philly House during SXSW 2019. (Courtesy)

Philadelphia will be strongly represented at SXSW, and Amplify Philly is once again leading the charge.

Amplify Philly, an events nonprofit with a mission to showcase Philadelphia’s strengths, will be back again next month at South by Southwest, Austin’s annual music, art and tech conference. The organization saw success at SXSW pre-pandemic, drawing 3,500 people to its Philly-centric festival outpost in 2019, and returned to the conference in person in 2023 after a few years of virtual events.

What to expect from Amplify Philly at SXSW 2024

The organization will be at SXSW from March 10 through 13 alongside festival partners and sponsors including the Philadelphia International Airport, Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board, Pennovation, and the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia.

At the trade show portion of SXSW, Amplify Philly will host a booth called the PHL Experience where visitors can learn about cool opportunities in Philadelphia. The Amplify Philly House will be held at a separate venue called The Stay Put on March 10, where Amplify Philly will host Philly-themed programming along with its partners CMI Media Group and the University City Science Center. To represent local food, they’ll have cheesesteaks from Chilly’s Phillys and a coffee bar from Win Win Coffee on hand.

Amplify Philly House visitors can also expect an official house party, an Indy Hall recharge lounge, live painting, a merch shop, and a raffle to win tickets to this fall’s B. PHL festival. Alumni groups from Philadelphia universities are putting together an alumni happy hour event.

Panelists inside the Amplify Philly House at the March 2019 SXSW. (Courtesy)

Amplify Philly is focused on “intentional” connection this year at SXSW, Alli Adams, leader of events and experiences with Witty Gritty, told Witty Gritty is the events company founded by Michelle Freeman, who is also the head of Amplify Philly.

The org’s leaders learned last year that SXSW attendees are goal oriented and already know what resources they are looking for, Adams said. Thus, along with this intentional focus comes a new program called Concierge Connections. Attendees can connect with Philly-based partners who are in Texas right then and there, or get contact information for organizations that are not at the fest.

“It’s kind of the first time that we’re able to produce that high-touch connection point,” Adams said, “and really help people make that meaningful moment happen, and hopefully help produce some business in Philadelphia.”

Yearlong programming

Looking forward to the rest of 2024 and keeping with the theme of connection, Amplify Philly is also focusing on talent attraction and retention more broadly, Freeman told

That includes engaging the remote worker workforce. Post-pandemic, there’s an opportunity to create more programming for this group — example: the remote workers holiday party Amplify Philly hosted with Indy Hall in December — because, well, more people work remotely now, Freeman said.

The goal is to “get them connected to community so that if they are looking for their next job, they stay in Philly,” Freeman said, “whatever that means for them.”

Amplify Philly is also looking to get companies with remote workforces talking to each other. If these companies coordinate to host their retreats or in-person meetings here at the same time, Amplify Philly could plan events to bring together all of these out-of-towners.

The organization is also looking at international opportunities to showcase Philadelphia, such as the World Expo in Japan next year.

The plan overall: Scout out more opportunities to showcase Philadelphia.

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: Witty Gritty / SXSW

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