South by South West Music Festival

What is South by South West?

What exactly is South by South by South West? South by Southwest (SXSW) is the abbreviation for the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference and Festival, which takes place each year in Austin. The Austin-based private company South by Southwest, Inc. produces the festival, which began in 1987. The internationally acclaimed March event serves as a showcase for musicians and a forum for music industry professionals.

Inspired by the successful New Music Seminar held in New York in the 1980s, Austinites Nick Barbaro, Louis Black, and Roland Swenson, all of whom worked for the Austin Chronicle, and Louis Meyers, a band manager and musician, created the event to promote the Austin music scene. At its inception, the festival primarily featured local acts. In 1987, 700 people registered, and approximately 200 bands performed at fifteen different venues. In the 1990s, the symposium grew in terms of participation and promotion.

In 1991, the four founders formed a corporation. SXSW had officially added film and interactive media events to an expanded schedule by 1994, and that year the conference drew over 4,000 attendees and featured 500 musical acts across twenty-eight venues. SXSW staff organized 900 showcases in forty-eight venues in 2001.

The festival's five-day music component includes meetings and panel discussions on topics such as independent record labels, technology and music, copyright laws, and artist promotion. Austin's nightclubs, particularly those on Sixth Street, attract musicians from all over the world. Many musicians hope to attract the attention of major record labels, while others who have already negotiated deals see the festival as a significant vehicle for publicity.

Every year, Austin, Texas hosts exciting musical festivals and experiences, with South by Southwest, or SXSW, being one of the most popular Austin events. SXSW is a two-week festival of musical performances, film screenings, and interactive events held at various venues throughout the city.

Austin has a plethora of incredible live music venues that host SXSW artists. Big-name acts put on bigger shows, while up-and-coming artists make their mark. Indeed, many well-known artists are discovered for the first time at this exciting Austin event. The musical performances begin on March 11th and continue throughout the event.

Workshops and special screenings of documentary films, music videos, animation, and other media presentations are held at the SXSW Film Conference and Festival.

SXSW has expanded from its inception in 1987 to include film, interactive media, television, comedy, and even political experiences. But, man, the festival has always been primarily about the music. Every year, music fans and industry professionals flock to Austin to see performances by emerging acts as well as established, even legendary, artists. After two years away, the desire for live music is stronger than ever.

The music lineup at SXSW is not restricted by genre, region, or popularity. The festival features over 2,000 performers from 60+ countries, who are spread out across Austin in everything from intimate spaces to massive stages.

Navigating the festival and its plethora of options can be daunting, so we put together a list of must-see artists to help point you in the right direction. From local favorites to international sensations, hip-hop groups to lo-fi troubadours, here are a few acts worth seeing in Austin. Here are some of the artists who will be performing at SXSW 2022.

The SXSW Interactive Festival investigates all aspects of the Internet, web design trends, and new media technologies. The Austin Convention Center hosts trade shows that highlight the most recent equipment, technology, and companies in film, music, and interactive media.

The Big Hitters

While SXSW does not have traditional headliners, there are always a few buzzed-about artists on the verge of stardom ready to take Austin and SXSW audiences by storm. These are the acts you'll be hearing about for the next few years, so see them before you're labeled a trend hopper. They will also almost certainly deliver memorable performances.

Maxo Kream

Houston's Maxo Kream is the best young storyteller in hip-hop, bar none. The husky-voiced emcee weaves tales about his family's struggles and his adjustment to success with harrowing lyrics and an ear for lush, soul-sampling beats.

On the surface, Kream effortlessly serves up tough tracks that sound monstrous coming out of your speakers, but those who dig deeper will find a writerly craftsman getting granular about trauma and overcoming it. There's a good chance Maxo Kream is your favorite rapper's favorite rapper, and he might just become your favorite as well.


The 2020s have been claimed by geese. Fresh out of high school, the boys in Geese have The Strokes' swagger but with a more unpredictable bent that pushes their sound into proggier, experimental spaces a la Black Midi and Squid. Projector, their debut album, is a wild ride filled with catchy refrains but also chaotic moments that sound like the whole thing could fall off the rails at any moment. What more could you want from a rock band?

Heart on Their Sleeve

With acts like Olivia Rodrigio and Machine Gun Kelly reintroducing guitar-based pop music to the charts and the announcement of the When We Were Young musical festival causing a social media frenzy, there appears to be a thirst for punk and emo-leaning pop music among teenagers and nostalgic millennials. Here are some acts to check out if you're looking to cathartically scratch that angsty itch at SXSW.

The Pom Pom Squad

Mia Berren is the frontwoman of this Brooklyn-based bubblegrunge band, which combines theatrics of emo with the anthemic charge of the best early 2000s indie bands. If you were among the millions who wore Olivia Rodrigio's "Good 4 U" this summer, Pom Pom Squad is a logical next step, offering something a little more grown-up and sensual; if Rodrigo is for the popular girls, Pom Pom Squad is for the ones getting drunk beneath the bleachers. Pom Pom Squad's recent work channels the bombast and cinematic qualities of 1960s girl groups, adding an ethereal element to the band's soaring hooks.


ME REX's experimental and emotionally purgative music is appropriately named after a sharp-toothed prehistoric creature, because it will absolutely tear you up. ME REX, the brainchild of South London singer-songwriter Myles McCabe, packs a musical punch with wordy, searching lyrics that sail to the rafters almost religiously.

Their music appears to be thematically centered on the ever-shifting nature of the human experience, and on their latest release /Megabear/, they lean into the theme with a 52-track album full of bite-sized songs meant to be consumed in random order. It's a fantastic gimmick, and even more impressively, it works like a charm.


One key factor that makes alternative rock so appealing is its accessibility; unlike classic rock virtuosos and studio wizards, popular alternative rock bands made picking up a guitar and bearing your heart seem like something anyone could do. Enumclaw, from the Pacific Northwest, embodies that feeling better than any other band at SXSW.

Frontman Aramis Johnson had never played guitar or sung before forming Enumclaw, but they stand out with their blend of reverby, prototypical Seattlian guitar lines, and sticky pop hooks. The band cites Oasis and Drake as major influences, and if that's any indication, these guys have global aspirations.

Katy Kirby

Katy Kirby is a singer-songwriter who creates perfectly laconic songs that are deceptively simple but addictively clever. She specializes in folk-leaning, laidback rock that feels right at home in Texas, and she has a knack for stripping her songs down to their most essential elements before building them back up into beautiful, unexpected places.

J Soulja

Austin rapper J Soulja is a SXSW regular who feels in line with past Texas rap greats while carving out his own authentic and soulful space. He's a lyricist's lyricist who delivers verses dripping with ambition and finesse. His most polished work to date, /More Than Nothin'/, finds the emcee gliding effortlessly over smooth and mellow, yet memorable, beats. J Soulja's best songs usually feature the rapper rapping about overcoming his own obstacles to become a hometown hero. But don't expect J Soulja to remain an Austin secret indefinitely — he's on his way to bigger and better things.

Sir Woman

Kelsey Wilson has found success with her folk-pop outfit Wild Child and Americana supergroup Glorietta, but with her latest project, Sir Woman, Wilson is channeling her love of Soul and R&B to create something positive.

Sir Woman's throwback sound offers something comfortably familiar in the best way possible, with feel-good music that anyone can boogie to. Wilson can spread out and get funky at the same time when backed by impeccably precise musicians.

Internationally Recognized

While it's fun to celebrate local acts, SXSW is also an excellent opportunity for international artists to gain exposure in the United States. The festival excels at curating an experience that showcases undiscovered talent alongside global superstars.


Duma emerged from Nairobi's thriving underground metal scene like a bat out of hell, combining bone-crunching physicality and aggression with a gleeful disregard for genre conventions or styles.

Their music is raw, industrial, frenetic, and boundary-pushing; it's clear that it's not for everyone. But for those who aren't scared of these menacing metalheads, there's something truly brutal and unique here, a fresh combination of subgenres that leads to something terrifyingly different.


Some have dubbed CIFIKA "the Korean Bjork," a contemporary Korean artist who blends the sounds of K-Pop, R&B, and indie music with her electronic-leaning pop songcraft. CIFIKA's ambient vocal experiments were featured in the Men's Fall-Winter 2021 Louis Vuitton campaign, and she was invited to create and soundtrack an installation piece for ISM Berlin's acclaimed Hexadome project alongside artists such as Thom Yorke and Brian Eno, demonstrating that CIFIKA can excite both clubgoers and the high art world.


Josh Fernandez, aka JBABE, is an Indian multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer, guitarist, and vocalist who blends lo-fi indie pop with R&B to create heady and irresistibly groovy music. JBABE fits into the template established by artists such as Frank Ocean and Blood Orange, providing the same kind of after-hours vibes.

When is South by South West?

When does South by South West occur? The SXSW Music Festival brings artists, industry professionals, and music fans from all over the world together to network, advance their careers, and celebrate the magic of live music – from legendary performers to the most exciting new talent.

In-Person and Online SXSW

10-19 March 2023

Experience unparalleled discovery, learning, professional development, and networking with creatives from around the world from March 10 to 19. Conference sessions, Film Festival screenings, Music Festival showcases, world-class Exhibitions, networking opportunities, competitions, award ceremonies, and much more are all part of the event.

The Meaning of SXSW Badges

SXSW was created to help artists and industry professionals meet and discuss future collaborations. Those serious about networking should purchase a SXSW badge.

Badges grant you access to all shows, talks, events, and gigs in your chosen area (or all areas for the platinum badge); you may still have to wait in line, but not as much as those who enjoy SXSW by stalking the free events.

Even if you have a badge, you will miss out on sessions and films due to the SXXpress Pass request window.

This is done via the SXSW Go app. It appears that you must make your request around 9 a.m. the day before the event.

Another benefit of badge holders is a free daily drink in the Registrant Lounge. You'll meet interesting locals and visitors from all walks of life, from blockchain companies to gaming marketers.

SXSW Panel Selector 2023

Date to be determined.

As of today, the online application allows the SXSW community to have a say in which sessions are scheduled at SXSW.

How to Attend SXSW for Free?

It's common knowledge that you can visit Austin during SXSW just to enjoy the free music shows, eats, and drinks. Private companies sponsor venues and gigs, and with sponsorship comes free shizzle!

Here's how to make the most of your free South by Southwest vacation. You'll need a vacation after that.


SXSW planning begins months in advance of the event. Start following the bands and artists you like on social media to see who will be there. You should also follow SXSW Twitter accounts as well as Austin venues.

The following official and unofficial accounts will tell you where to get food, what the lines are like, and where the surprise gigs are taking place during the festival. To keep track of events, you might want to open a separate Twitter account.



@SXUnofficial ‏

@Do512 — another app


Craig's favorite is @SXSWMF.


During SX, look for the hashtag #SXSW20 and the 'latest' tab for the most recent news. Also, for shows, pick up a copy of the Austin Chronicle newspaper.

Apps for SXSW

The Do512 app is helpful, but it is difficult to use. The best way around it is to search for the act you want to see and then look up the venues where they are playing, then investigate which party that is. Twitter is unquestionably the best app at your disposal, and taxi apps will be required to get into and out of the city.

The official SXSW app is SXSW Go. It has been useful for badge holders in scheduling events and attempting to obtain SXXpress passes for popular events.

What Should You Wear to the SXSW Conference?

Anything goes, as long as you're comfortable. Some days will be hot and sticky, while others may rain (not that often though). For all the rushing between locations, the most important item on your packing list should be well-worn in shoes.

If you're there to network, make an effort to stand out. Bright hair and a cool hat? Whatever you're carrying. Before you go, practice your elevator speech. Don't forget to bring your business cards.

What is the SXSW mobile app?

During the festival, the SXSW Go app could be your best friend. You can use it to network and create a schedule so you don't miss anything.

It will also inform you of the size of a venue and the number of people attending an event. Green indicates that there is still space available, Yellow indicates that the event is beginning to fill up, and Red indicates that the event has reached capacity. You can also use the app to find events taking place near you.

Many venues are sponsored, which means there will be plenty of free shows, food, and drinks! Make sure you're following SXSW on Twitter to stay up to date on what's going on and where these free shows are taking place.

SXSW is a crazy fun 10-day event that brings out the best of music, film, and interactive in what we think is Texas' best city! If you want to know more about the latest music and connect with people then turntable is for you! Turntablelive is ideal for music lovers who want to experience live DJ sets and play music with friends. The platform allows you to listen to music with your Discord and Turntable LIVE friends ( Discover new music while making new friends, because music is better when shared.