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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”