South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival is one of the most popular music festivals in the U.S. Held in Austin, Texas, in mid-March, the festival features an extensive lineup of both established and emerging artists from around the world, along with industry professionals and music fans.
SXSW is a unique experience for music lovers, as it provides an opportunity to discover new artists and genres while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of Austin. The event brings together over 2,000 artists to perform in more than 100 venues throughout the city.
Beyond the official festival lineup at the Austin Convention Center, there are also countless venues throughout Austin that host showcases and performances during SXSW, giving fans a chance to see even more artists and discover new music outside of the festival’s main events. It’s worth exploring the city to find these hidden gems and experience the full range of what SXSW has to offer.
SXSW showcases a wide range of music genres, including indie rock, hip-hop, electronic, and folk, among others. The festival also includes several keynote speakers and panel discussions that focus on various aspects of the music industry, such as music marketing, artist management, and the impact of technology on music.
It’s worth noting that SXSW is actually a festival that encompasses film, music, and interactive media, but as a diehard music lover and a frequent festival-goer myself, I focus on the music. Plus, having attended SXSW twice, I can attest that the music scene is unlike anything else out there.
One of the dopest aspects of SXSW is the opportunity for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talent and potentially be discovered by industry professionals. During my first trip to SXSW, I remember seeing Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y perform at a small venue. At the time, both Wiz and Spitta were relatively unknown artists, but they quickly gained popularity after their performance at the festival. That’s one of the cool things about SXSW — it’s a place where emerging artists can get discovered and potentially signed by record labels. In fact, many successful musicians, including Billie Eilish and Post Malone, got their big break at SXSW. Attending SXSW is an unforgettable experience, and it’s a must-see for any music enthusiast.
If you’re looking for a taste of New Orleans at SXSW, you’re in luck. New Orleans has had a significant impact on the evolution of several genres — from jazz, funk, and blues, to hip-hop and rap music. Some of the city’s talented artists will be performing at the festival and in surrounding venues.
To make your New Orleans experience at the festival easier, I’ve curated a short guide to some of the top New Orleans artists to see and events to attend at SXSW. Whether you’re interested in sitting in on an artist conversation with rapper Curren$y, or wanna wiggle low to the sounds of the Queen of Bounce, Big Freedia, there’s something for everyone at the festival. Here are some of the top events and artists to check out:
THURSDAY, MARCH 16
The Blog Era: Hip-Hop’s Wild Wild West – The Blog Era was the intersection where hip-hop really met the internet, helping launch the careers of your favorite artists and changing the pop culture industry. Curren$y and industry insiders will sit down and discuss the impact the era had on the culture. 4 – 5p @ Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EF.
FRIDAY, MARCH 17
DJ Rakimbeau | Revival Coffee, 1405 E 7th St. | 7:10 – 8:10p
Joy Clark | Victorian Room at The Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St. | 8 – 8:40p
SATURDAY, MARCH 18
Luck Origins: New Orleans Takeover – Just outside of Austin city limits, in Luck, TX, a number of New Orleans artists will take over “Willie Nelson’s backyard” — a mock Old West ranch that has become a popular music venue featuring major roots, country, and indie artists. Artists to perform: Big Freedia, Cha Wa, Ivan Neville & Friends, The Soul Rebels, Low Cut Connie, Tommy McLain & C.C. Adcock, and more. There’s also a free crawfish boil!
SUNDAY, MARCH 19
Brass-A-Holics | Elephant Room, 315 Congress Ave. | 12 – 12:40a
I hope this guide has been helpful in giving you a taste of what to expect from SXSW and New Orleans’ incredible artists. SXSW is an incredible experience that you won’t want to miss! Have fun, stay hydrated, and make sure you explore all the different venues and hidden gems throughout Austin to discover new artists and genres. 💕