SXSW Preview

Alex Mendoza

     Renowned worldwide as the Mecca of live music, Austin is again playing host to its annual music and film festival, South by Southwest. Originally launched 20 years ago, this popular nine day stretch of media has grown with each new installment, attracting celebrities, talent scouts, music executives and of course flocks of fans from all over the world.

     South by Southwest (SXSW,) began over twenty years ago in Austin as a regional event showcasing local music. By the 2000s, it quickly grew into one of the nation’s largest and most profitable annual music festivals. Singer-songwriter John Mayer and James Blunt were both discovered at the festival. SXSW begins with an interactive segment over four days with celebrity panels, informative booths and sneak peeks at new tech and other fun things. Extending four days after the interactive sessions is the film festival, where new films are debuted and new talent is scouted for directors, actors and more.

     The final part of SXSW is the music festival, and arguably the most popular. Fans get their access wristbands months in advance, drive and fly in from all corners of the earth, and suddenly Austin is alive with fans, tourists, street musicians and countless venues pounding out live performances. Everywhere from bars to lakeside stages to the street corner, musicians are out and alive, promoting their music and meeting new fans.

     This year, San Marcos post-rock band This Will Destroy You, throwback Motown soul group Lee Fields & The Expressions, and Brooklyn post-punk noise rockers The Men are all scheduled to appear on Austin stages this March.

     Each year, the aura of live music that thrives in Austin amplifies with SXSW as Austin’s grandest and most eventful festival.