Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 1.32.24 AMIt’s with some mix of horror and excitement that I realized that Southland– our big, honking, awesome, southern annual conference– is almost upon us. (It’s June 9, 10, 11. Get your tickets if you haven’t!)

In addition to speakers as varied as Al Gore, Christy Turlington Burns, David “thanks, but no thanks” Marcus, and Aaron Levie, Southland is featuring a killer new take on the startup competition. We’re busy vetting nearly 1,000 entrants now.

But like all great tech conferences we want a little bit of something for entrepreneurs at all stages, including those who haven’t even built a minimum viable product yet. Which can only mean one thing: A hackathon.

But rather than organizing our own hackathon, we decided instead to support a really cool one that sprang up around Bonnaroo last year.  Travis Laurendine’s “Hackeroo.”

What will make Hackeroo different is that it’s themed around apps and technology that add to the experience of a large, real-time, in person event like Bonnaroo. The winning product has to ship and work for the 80,000 people who will attend this year’s Bonnaroo… just a month after the hackathon ends.

Southland and Bonnaroo don’t kick off until June, but Hackeroo starts this weekend in Nashville. Paul Carr and I are hopping on a plane to witness the insanity, help judge the winners, and award prizes. We will also have judges from Bonnaroo on hand as well, plus the support of Bonnaroo’s app developers, Nashville-based Aloompa. Founders Drew Burchfield and Kurt Nelson will be available as inspirational guides for hackers who want to benefit from their experience in building mobile technology for Bonnaroo, Coachella and other major festivals across the country.

We’re offering great prizes including tickets to Bonnaroo and Southland, plus other prizes from Emma Braintree, and Rackspace. Oh, and there’s an additional $2,500 prize from our Southland partner Launch Tennessee.

Consider Hackeroo our Southland “pre-party.” If you are a developer who can get to Nashville this weekend (or is already there), we hope you’ll join us!