SXSW Opens Next Week—25th Year Biggest Yet

Over 13,000 attendees are expected to descend on Austin, Texas next week for SXSW. Now in its 25th year, the Music Conference and Festival has grown into a massive event, radiating from its home base of the Austin Convention Center. It officially runs March 11-20.

Though SXSW has greatly evolved from its early beginning as a music conference, that remains its most important offering. The SXSW Music Conference will include Bob Geldof’s Keynote Address, as well as speakers/interviewees Crystal Bowersox, Duran Duran, Yoko Ono, and John Popper. Notable panelists include Perez Hilton, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Yankees great Bernie Williams, Jewel, and Liz Phair. Details on the music conference here.

The music festival segment of SXSW, March 15-20, will have over 2000 acts performing in over 90 venues. A very small sampling of bands includes B.o.B, Duran Duran, Lucinda Williams, Neon Trees, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Cool Kids, The Kills, and Wu Tang Clan.

Among the festival’s first-time events will be the Trade Show, Technology Summit and Style By fashion exhibition.

Instead of the usual goody bags, the convention is introducing SXswag, a digital marketplace with music samplers and software. To that end, the SXSW: Featured Artists compilation is available for free on iTunes, featuring Bright Eyes, Lucinda Williams, G. Love and Talib Kweli, Foster The People, Hayes Carll and more.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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