Is there any definitive way to prepare for South by Southwest? If there is, I have not discovered it, nor crafted my own yet. If you’re attending the legendary annual music festival taking place in Austin, Texas in less than week (March 11-17, 2019), much kudos to you if you’re still trying to develop a schedule.
After covering the Music Festival for the last four years, I’ve found it best to follow several must-see artists, pick a few favorite venues, and keep an open mind as I traverse Austin’s eclectic downtown area for a one-of-a-kind live music experience in a one-of-a-kind music city.
This year features over 2,000 official performers – many of whom are first-timers – from over 60 countries. They hope to make their marks and take their careers to the next level. As silly as it may be to get caught up in the spring-summer music festival hoopla, being a SXSW showcasing artist is still a big deal for most emerging artists as they try to navigate and succeed in an ever-changing music industry.
Several music acts I hope to see:
- Andrew Bird
- The Beths
- Broken Social Scene
- Cherry Glazerr
- Ella Vos
- Japanese Breakfast
- Jealous of the Birds
- Nicole Atkins
- Oh Pep!
- Two People
Besides the many downtown venues, SXSW features three official stages at the Convention Center for more intimate performances and an Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake. The latter stage is open to the public if you apply for a free Guest Pass. This year it features performances by X Ambassadors, Andrew Bird, and Patty Griffin.
There aren’t as many quasi-private showcases as in years past. Collide is back. So is FLOODfest. No word on Pandora nor Spotify (seriously, please Google it if I’m wrong). A quick shout-out to the free ACLU100 exhibition on March 9 at 8pm, hosted by Padma Lakshmi and DJed by Questlove, which celebrates the organization’s many decades of fighting for basic human rights.