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The 30th annual South by Southwest Music Festival takes place March 15-20 in Austin, Texas. First Lady Michelle Obama will give the opening keynote at SXSW Music.

SXSW Music Festival 2016: Preview (March 15-20)

Bomba Estereo at SXSW 2015 (photo credit: Earl McGehee)
Bomba Estereo at SXSW 2015 (Photo credit: Earl McGehee)

This week marks the return of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Split into three events, SXSW Interactive runs from March 11 through March 15; SXSW Film also starts on March 11, but ends on the March 19. SXSW Music, in its 30th incarnation, runs from March 15 through March 20, and showcases a mix of speakers, panels, meetups, and thousands of musical performances across dozens of stages and venues.

In a well-received announcement a few days ago, President Barack Obama will speak about civic engagement at SXSW Interactive on Friday, March 11 and First Lady Michelle Obama will speak about the Let Girls Learn initiative at the opening keynote at SXSW Music on Wednesday, March 16. No doubt security will be extra tight on those days, but non-festival attendees can see both talks on SXSW.com.

SXSW is putting extra emphasis on expanding other portions of SXSWeek, including events about comedy and entertainment, gaming, sports, food, and global change (curated and produced by SXSW Eco). A lot of this expanded programming centers around Convergence on March 15, where all badge holders get access to learning about how all these topics, including the interactive, film and music core, connect and overlap with one another.

In addition to Convergence, the Media Conference offers plenty of panels and talks, networking sessions, workshops, and even a hackathon during the rest of the week, including a no–holds–barred talk by punk rock band NOFX. As always, there are a quite a bit of informative sessions for folks who work in the trenches, ranging from artist development, copyright and publishing issues, data science, festivals, and the future of live performances, radio, streaming, and social media.

Some notable acts I look forward to seeing:

  • AlunaGeorge
  • Bloc Party
  • Charli XCX
  • CHVRCHES
  • Coheed and Cambria
  • Erykah Badu
  • HEALTH
  • Kacy Hill
  • Loretta Lynn
  • MSTRKRFT
  • Nas
  • Ra Ra Riot
  • Santigold
  • Vince Staples
  • Wolfmother

Some notable showcases I look forward to attending:

These are just a few of the many artists and showcases scheduled, both officially and unofficially, in Austin next week. Plan well using the SXSW Schedule and accompanying SXSW GO iPhone and Android apps. Most importantly, have fun!


About Tan The Man

Tan The Man writes mostly about film and music. He has previously covered events like Noise Pop, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, South By Southwest, TBD Festival, Wizard World Comic Con and WonderCon.

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