News / Arts & Entertainment

SXSW 2013 Showcases Megastars, Unknown Artists

Iron & Wine's Sam Beam performs with his new band at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, March 13, 2013.
Iron & Wine's Sam Beam performs with his new band at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, March 13, 2013.
Katherine Cole
This month saw the 27th annual South By Southwest Music Conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, where more than 2,000 acts from 49 countries played on over 100 stages around town.

SXSW started out as a way to promote unknown and unsigned artists. But these days, more and more megastars are grabbing the headlines.

Prince and Justin Timberlake were arguably the hottest tickets this year. Unlike the standard showcases, their closing night “secret” shows were not open to all conference attendees who could squeeze into a club. Instead, they were events produced with corporate sponsorships and tickets were available to a select group of attendees and customers of the brands by lottery.  

Hip-hop legends LL Cool J, Ice Cube, and Public Enemy were also onboard for events sponsored by a snack food company.  That’s something you didn’t see at SXSW a few years ago: famous faces fronting big production shows with corporate tie-ins.

Big and Small Names Appear at SXSW 2013
Big and Small Names Appear at SXSW 2013i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

The event began in 1987 as a way to bring attention to bands from Texas, and only 700 music industry professionals attended. This year, 19,000 people were registered for the conference and they - along with the bands - came from around the world.

Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performs at the SXSW Music Festival, March 15, 2013.Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performs at the SXSW Music Festival, March 15, 2013.
x
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performs at the SXSW Music Festival, March 15, 2013.
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performs at the SXSW Music Festival, March 15, 2013.
Unlike the event’s earlier days, SXSW now includes official showcases for well-known acts introducing new material or even new band members. Among the “names” this year were Green Day, Depeche Mode, and Iggy Pop.
 
Even with all the big name shows, one thing hasn’t changed: the event is still the place where companies show off their “Next Big Thing.” Getting a lot of attention this year was a group called The Lone Bellow.
 
While The Lone Bellow often tours as a trio, this year the Brooklyn, New York- based band brought its full rhythm section to Austin. They not only played an official SXSW showcase event, but at least 15 other private and public parties during the week.

There were also acts just taking their first steps into the music business.

William Harries Graham plays at SXSW 2013. (VOA/G. Flakus)William Harries Graham plays at SXSW 2013. (VOA/G. Flakus)
x
William Harries Graham plays at SXSW 2013. (VOA/G. Flakus)
William Harries Graham plays at SXSW 2013. (VOA/G. Flakus)
William Harries Graham, 13, is following in the footsteps of his father, Jon Dee Graham, a true Austin singing, songwriting and guitar-playing legend. William performed one showcase with his father and another as a member of a band, The Seaside Swifts.

But as a SXSW first timer, how would he know if the week was a success?

“In my opinion, it’s really just seeing how many people come out to my concerts, how many people cheer when done playing, or if someone comes up to me when I’m done and wants to talk with me about how I was during it," he said. "Or, like, says ‘you guys were awesome!’ It’s really a matter of what everyone else says to me. Even if I get a few people liking me and everyone else is kind of like ‘I don’t like you,’ which I hope doesn’t happen, it’s still going to be like I got to play this awesome festival and I had a great time playing it, and it was really fun!”

What was the verdict on William Harries Graham’s first SXSW showcase?

He was greeted warmly by the crowd, and there was even a yelp of appreciation as he stepped up to the microphone and sang "Mystical Ways."

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."