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

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."