OnlineRock Blog

28 March 2011

South By Southwest Recap

Well, it’s been a little over a week since the end of the most anticipated film, music and media festival in the country – South by Southwest, of course. This year, 2011, marked the 25-year anniversary of this Austin, Texas festival, which began featuring only music and has since been expanded to include film, media and comedy. We still love the music the most, and we didn't want it to end either! Let's make it last and recap some of the highlights:

Musical artists and industry folk converged on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at the SXSW Music Conference to usher in the music portion of the festival. Stuffiness absent, Andrew W.K. introduced the event, speaking on topics from the deliciousness of the sandwiches to childhood stories and industry analysis.

“The entertainment industry in general is the best field to work in because it is the one that fully, fully acknowledges the absurdity of existence… and it revels in that, that’s where the joy is to be found, in the moment of watching the band, of watching the music video…” he said, then touched upon questions of realness and authenticity in the act of making art. Check it out here:

After a tragic 8.9 magnitude tsunami devastated Japan Friday, March 11, SXSW teamed up with the Red Cross to hold a 12-hour telethon to raise disaster relief funds. Hanson hosted the event from 12 p.m. Saturday to 12 p.m. Sunday. The goal of $100,000 was exceeded by more than $5,000. You can still donate here.

Hip hop singer Nate Dogg passed away at age 41 from heart complications on Thursday, March 15. To commemorate the artist’s life and work, Snoop Dogg, Warren G. and P. Diddy paid tribute to their close friend Friday, March 19 at the Whitley venue, performing “Regulate,” Nate Dogg’s biggest hit single. Mayer Hawthorne joined Snoop Dogg for the first time live. Nate Dogg’s funeral was Saturday, March 26 in Long Beach, CA.

The era of digital technology is just beginning, and SXSW discussed some of the many changes to the way people listen to music. Some think streaming live digital music from the “celestial jukebox” of the internet will soon replace even the convenience of storing music files on mp3 players, iPods, or CDs, which have all long since replaced tapes and records. So, is customizable radio the next big thing? Who doesn't love Pandora, or Sirius radio? Read about it at Mercury News.

Digital technology also changes the way musical artists are able to promote themselves. The internet provides an endless space for any band to put their music online, with sites such as MySpace, Napster and YouTube. Some think this has changed the nature of SXSW. Read about it at The Guardian.

But people will always show up at SXSW with expectations of hearing great live music, and they were not disappointed this year. So many bands played in such a short period of time that we wish we could have been in 50 places at once. Some OnlineRock favorites performed, like DeVotchKa, J. Mascis, Foo Fighters, The Strokes, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Typhoon, Low (review forthcoming), The Lines (review just posted), The Head and the Heart (review forthcoming), and The Jezabels (free download). There are just so many good bands to discover here or watch on SXSW's YouTube channel.

We want to hear from you!
What were some of your favorite SXSW moments? Discover any great new music? Favorite bands there? Music you would like us to feature? Thoughts on the digitalization of music?


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