One of the most influential music, technology, and film events currently thrown worldwide began as a grass-roots festival of only 700 attendees in the relatively small city of Austin, Texas. And you know who started it? A deliveryman who worked for a local alt weekly that persuaded a small collection of editors to throw it back in the early spring of 1986. It is within these indie organizations that something like SXSW would begin to come about, and the festival is the perfect example of something that started small and subsequently exploded into an event that fills every hotel, hostel, club, and bar in the city to capacity.
It has been a launch pad for many careers and is often touted as a unique experience for music industry start-ups, where all walks could meet and connect at all-day all-night jam sessions and parties. Going back to 1989, the question of “How big is too big?” has often been raised, and will only continue to come up, with new technological additions and the premiere of the 5-day long iTunes stadium festival, featuring major acts such as Coldplay and Willie Nelson at SXSW 2014. The recent addition of Lady Gaga as this year’s keynote speaker is a prime example of how the modern and commercial age has infiltrated what was originally a DIY festival in a relatively small city.
With the music portion officially kicking off today, we’ve put together our favorite events as an Official (and Unofficial) guide to navigating the music portion of the all-encompassing festival, following the tech-bubble burst in 1999 and the SXSW-induced explosion of Twitter and Foursquare. We all have our own opinions on the music industry in the technological age, but despite these differentiating opinions, the last minute “Where’s the party?” process is certainly simpler now.
With a multitude of events open to the public with a simple RSVP and early bird arrival, what’s not to love? If you’re lucky enough to be attending SXSW this year, we hope that our guide (complete with RSVP links to selected events that are not already closed) will make it easier for you!
And please make sure to check out anything from our friends at iHeartComix, Embrace, and Biz3 for details on the all-inclusive RSVP site Austin Party Weekend.
Our Favorite Official (And Unofficial) Events
Spotify House (Opens Mon 3/10-Fri 3/14)
Featuring sets from Tove Lo, Machinedrum, Dum Dum Girls, Mutual Benefit, DJ Rashad, G-Eazy, Warpaint, Phantogram and more throughout the week.
4 Days in Austin Red Bull Sound Select
(Opens Wed 3/12-Sat 3/15)
Featuring sets from Danny Brown, Sleigh Bells, Twin Shadow, and Earl Sweatshirt throughout the week.
Dickie's Roadhouse (Opens Wed 3/12-Sat 3/15)
Featuring sets from Until The Ribbon Breaks, Sweater Beats, Little Dragon, Goldroom, and Ludacris throughout the week.
Boiler Room and Ray Ban (Opens Sat 3/15 at 8pm)
Featuring sets from Four Tet, Future, Just Blaze, Gaslamp Killer, Julio Bashmore, Omar-S, DJ Mustard, and Tinashe.
OWLSA Texas BBQ (Opens Thurs 3/13 at 12pm)
Featuring sets from Skrillex, Hundred Waters, Alex Metric, David Heartbreak, Amtrac, and Heartsrevolution.
The Naked Grape Music Box
(Opens Thurs 3/13-Sat 3/15)
Featuring sets by ASTR, Misterwives, Mike Nouvaeu, Nabiha, and more throughout the week.
The Loft At Malverde (Opens Thurs 3/13-Fri 3/15)
Featuring sets from Ryan Hemsworth, Trippy Turtle, Goldroom, Amtrac, Wave Racer, Betty Who, and more throughout the week.