It is that time of year again when all the TV and film award shows are coming to an end and it is nearly time for the music festival summer circuit in the northern hemisphere of the world. All of this is preempted by South by Southwest (SXSW) (7 - 16 March 2014) in Austin, Texas which started out as a conference for the music industry in 1987 that has grown so big that it is now has three elements - interactive, film and music. That is not counting the offshoots like SWSWedu, SXSW Eco and SXSW V2V, that take place at different times in the year. So it is a bit of an industry unto itself. SXSW Music is the biggest music festival in the world with over 2000 official performers playing at over 100 venues over 10 days.
If you are like me and not attending this year, you can catch up on what is showcasing or happening at SXSW through the various social media apps and the huge amount of coverage on music blogs, radio stations in the US, movie and TV blogs and publications. I always go to the experts to cut through the huge amount of information coming at me on occasions like these and listen to recommendations from National Public Radio (NPR) in the US and radio shows like Sound Opinions. If you want a place to start go to NPR.org and look for the Austin 100: a SXSW 2014 Mix. You can download 100 songs from 100 performers that will be at SXSW for free until the end of SXSW from the NPR website. This mix has been narrowed down by Stephen Thompson at NPR Music from over 3000 songs sent out by SXSW. It is a great snapshot of what is available as it compiles songs from all music genres.
The keynote at SXSW Music this year will be by Neil Young. This will be on Tuesday 11 March and it usually gets posted onto youtube. Last year it was Dave Grohl, who did a great job (see below), and the year before it was Bruce Springsteen, who was equally as good as Dave Grohl. No disrespect, but here is hoping that next year it will be someone who is not a white middle aged man.
There are many many headliners this year, from 50 Cent, Jack White, Broken Bells, Imagine Dragons to Kurt Vile and I am sure they will get the coverage, but what is great about SXSW is that you always discover something new. Try it, you may find you new favourite artist or band.
Update 9 March 2014
I have to eat my words. The news is out that Lady Gaga is giving the keynote at SXSW Music this year. I guess Neil Young was a red herring. Outstanding work SXSW.