We are going to be your guide through SXSW, the biggest festival in the world. For ten days, South by Southwest takes over a city that transforms every corner into a concert, an event, a movie or a world premiere. Anything is possible at this time of year, when everything cool in the world happens in Austin.
The festival welcomes a wide selection of the most select underground culture but also the technological, cinematographic and business avant-garde in one of the most exciting and contrasting festivals in the world. For many Austinites, the consolidation of SXSW as a global benchmark has diminished its freshness and authenticity, but the truth is that the biggest festival on the planet is a unique showcase for the city and a celebration of minority talent and ideas.
SXSW is several festivals in one. During its first five days, the Interactive Festival is held. Hundreds of installations, exhibitions, parties and conferences show the latest trends in thought, ecology, technology, products, film or television. In the same space-time you can attend dozens of intimate conferences with all kinds of fascinating people, from chefs to businessmen, celebrities, actors, directors, musicians or artists as well. Both coincide with the prestigious Film and TV Festival where dozens of fascinating titles of films and shows destined to be great protagonists of 2023 are presented. You can also attend a Comedy Festival. And finally, you have at your disposal its Music Festival.
In addition, there are endless private and unofficial events, networking sessions and mentor meetings, and every year there are unexpected surprises. All of this contributes to the fact that it is an endless festival and that brings us to the first tip of our experience guide.
The Best Agenda of SXSW is Not Having an Agenda
Indeed. Don’t worry. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by so many things going on at once. Sometimes, you will find that you cannot access your favorite event because it is packed, or you have missed the date. Obviously, planning part of your day-to-day at the festival is essential, but don’t give up on getting lost in Austin. It is an incredible pleasure to face the unexpected, meet bands from far away parts of the world, rising stars, unforgettable flavors and parties that were not on your radar before. That is the real magic of this festival.
Remember, the badges gives you priority for one or another festival within SXSW, except the Platinum, which opens the doors for everything. Therefore, if you plan to attend an event in which your badge is not a priority, keep in mind that it is likely that it will be difficult for you to access. You can also individually buy a ticket for most movies, events and concerts.
Immerse Yourself in the Interactive Festival
The Interactive Festival offers you a glimpse of what is going to happen next in the world in the next few years during its five days of existence. Among the most anticipated events of this year is the sinister and tasty camp of the Yellowjackets that introduces us to the universe of the trendiest show in the United States. In this edition of SXSW, we will find immersive experiences in VR that will mark a before and after in endless sectors. Also, a motel full of surprises awaits us where we can discover the most brilliant Amazon Prime releases. Lush has set up a soap party with brilliant DJs while Johnny Walker invites us to a tasting of his best liquors. Porsche has created an impressive installation with art and legendary cars.
Visit Rainey St.
The most charming street in Austin is transformed for a week with installations, parties, exhibitions and concerts. It is worth braving the long queues to gain access to fascinating events and unforgettable evenings.
Commemorate 50 Years of Hip-Hop Culture
March 10-13 – 809 E 6th ST
On the night of Friday the 10th, we will go through an exhibition that commemorates 50 years of Hip-Hop culture in an unbeatable way: with graffiti, crazy MCs, rap and delicious cocktails.
A Little Piece of Spain at SXSW
The Spanish Wave – March 15 – 6PM
An afternoon with tapas, drinks and artists like Noa, Gouljaboy, Rakky Ripper, Maestro Espada and Caballo Prieto Azabache in a bar as cool as Shangri-La is one of the moments of the year. An interesting display of the sounds and flavors you can find in the Spanish streets, neighborhoods and bars.
Talk with Stars
The festival offers you the unique opportunity to attend conferences and chat with big stars, success stories, celebrities, actors, directors, chefs and all kinds of interesting people who bring you new knowledge and a good time with friends. The most anticipated conferences will be the incredible reunion between Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, the visit of Robert Downey Jr. and the presence of Priyanka Chopra, her father and her husband Nick Jonas. Apart from them, brilliant names will chat with festival attendees: Chef José Andrés, John Leguizamo, Eva Longoria, Kirsten Bell, Mavericks owner John Cuban, the legendary William Shatner, John Leguizamo, Cheech Marin, RZA from Wu-Tang Clan and Ed Helms and Brian Baumgartner from The Office.
Go to the Movies
SXSW Film Festival
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Going to the movies has never been so glamorous as at South By Southwest. The prestigious SXSW Film Festival premieres some of the most anticipated titles of this year 2023. The new reboot of Sam Raimi’s classic, Evil Dead Rise, The Swarm, a movie produced by Amazon Prime, the long-awaited Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Flamin ‘Hot, directed by Eva Longoria, the stellar Apple TV production, Tetris, which tells the fascinating story behind the game, and the gripping Americana are some of the favorite films of Austin moviegoers.
Although, as is the case at SXSW, attention can turn to much more independent but equally essential films such as Julio Torres’ Troublemaker, the hilarious Bottoms, or the incredible documentary about Donna Summer. Apart from all these movies, a week of television surprises also awaits us with the preview of several of the most interesting productions on the grid this year. Check out his extensive program here.
Have a Date with the Girl of the Moment
PinkPantheress – March 14 – 10:15PM
Anything is possible at SXSW, including dating the girl of the moment. We talked about her in our ACL story, before she joined the viral Ice Spice and they colonized TikTok with Boy’s a Liar Part 2. In Zilker Park, we were captivated by her tenderness and her modesty. Her freshness is a very difficult quality to find in today’s pop music and for that reason we hope that her sudden success doesn’t take it away from her. It does not seem. She will arrive in Austin without making much noise until she triggers an intense chain reaction on the scene of Mala Vida.
Meet a Legend
New Order – March 13 – 10PM
Few bands have been able to transform with more talent the grief over the death of their most charismatic member, in this case Ian Curtis, in such a long and influential career. The Manchester band visits SXSW after 40 years of reinventing Electronic Music and elevating the synthesizer to art. They await us at the Austin City Limits stage on a Monday, very different from their Blue Monday.
Taiwan Beats & Sounds from Japan
For any music lover who visits SXSW, there is nothing quite like the overnight trips to Asia that this music festival provides. Futuristic sounds, incredible staging and lots of strong emotions come from the East. The Taiwan Beats showcase brings us eclectic local talent and this year it’s going strong with Elephant Gym, a powerful rock band, the jazzy 9m88 or the dreampop from Lücy, among other native gems. From Japan comes a motley selection of its vibrant and eclectic underground scene. Bands and artists like VivaOla, Yu-Ka, Wez Atlas or Yayoi Daimon will give a good taste of a world as distant as it is fascinating.
Dance with Activism
Villano Antillano – Moody Theatre – March 15 – 8.40PM
My existence is based on activism, Villano Antillano said in a recent interview. It can’t make more sense. Long before the resounding success of her session with Bizarrap, this Puerto Rican has had to face intolerance and hatred for her transgender status. A lot to say in her lyrics and in her bases loaded with provocation and perreo to illuminate a diverse SXSW open to everyone.
The Big Party
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This party is one of the craziest things we’ve ever experienced. Lots of bands from the American underground and beyond, concerts inside a van, party outside the van. All this to encourage and promote bands that make their way with great talent. A unique way to get closer to the most fascinating but minority scene in the United States and share an afternoon together. Jam in the Van spends ten days non-stop in Austin before heading off to another part of America. I hope they take us with them.
Visit the British Embassy
You do not need to stamp your passport nor do tedious bureaucratic processes to access inside. This embassy is dedicated to British music and, as every year, it is the best news of the festival. This year we will enjoy 12 showcases that summarize the new and buoyant British urban scene, where there is room for all styles from the thriving neo-soul to hip hop, going through the most melodic pop and the latest generation punk to the most solid rock. Bands and artists such as Crawlers, ALASKAALASKA, English Teacher, The Orielles, Yazmin Lacey, Lemonade Shoelace, Kadeem Tyrell or Mandy Indiana will hoist the Union Jack in Austin.
Travel to the 60s
Os Mutantes – March 17 – 10:45PM / The Zombies – March 17 – 5PM
The SXSW not only allows you to travel in space but also in time. And it does so by taking us to a more idealistic and dreamier era, of magical sounds. Two of the most influential bands of the 60s visit Austin. Os Mutantes comes from Brazil to vindicate their style with those tropical and psychedelic essences that have influenced many later bands and made artists like Kurt Cobain fall in love with them. A joy and a unique opportunity to listen to the mythical A minha menina in a place like Hotel Vegas.
Another essential representative of this decade are the Zombies. In fact, the music of the 60s would not be fully understood without his songs like The time of the season or She’s not there. Their concert on the banks of the Colorado promises magical and unforgettable moments.
Get a Necessary Dose of Good Pop
Sometimes it is unavoidable and even necessary to get a dose of pop. In this case, it is not just any pop. These people from Long Island have been since 2015 one of the last references of a psychedelic pop that seemed dead not long ago but has experienced a recent revival, partly due to the talent of bands like Lemon Twigs. With just three officially released albums plus one unofficial one, their repertoire is a fascinating pop journey of the most inspired and addictive sounds. A pool of incredible sounds in which we will immerse ourselves without hesitation.
Meeting Talib Kweli Again
Talib Kweli – March 14 – 12AM
Talib has become a regular at SXSW. His rap both enhances and encapsulates the history of the genre from the perspective of his native Brooklyn. It is always a pleasure to listen to his street rhymes, contemplate his charisma and meet again with one of the indispensable faces of each SXSW.
Take a Walk
Walk, just walk. Anything can happen in the city for ten days. From finding Bill Murray reading poems at the door of the Driskill Hotel to running into the brightest stars in Hollywood at the Paramount Theatre’s photocall. You will also find a very good vibe, a city willing to conquer you and cultural manifestations everywhere. So, walk, just walk the streets of Austin.
The Least SXSW Event of SXSW
The Billboards have set up their own festival within SXSW. The composition of the poster is symptomatic of current trends in the United States dominated by hip hop, Latin rhythms and EDM. It is always interesting to come across the musical reality of an era and of course this event reflects it perfectly. For this reason, Lil Yatchty, Armani White, Lola Brooke, Feid, Eladio Carrión, Kaskade and Deadmau5 will be part of the most massive event, and less SXSW of the SXSW for three days.
Recover the Essence of SXSW
If we were talking about the least SXSW event of all SXSW before, this punk band from Belfast reconciles us with the essence of the festival. Enola Gay has flown the punk flag amid the genre’s boom in recent years in the British Isles. With barely a dozen gigs and a handful of singles, these guys began to stomp on the alternative circuit and became a phenomenon in the pre-COVID underground scene. After the confinements, they came back stronger and with more desire to mess things up in places like Austin, where we wait for them ready for some wild pogoes.
Tangerine Dream – March 16 – Parish – 12:20PM
This SXSW is going to be very tied to nostalgia. Tangerine Dream will inject us with a good dose of her in their memorable concert. The band that revolutionized 80’s Electronica sets foot in Austin, finally being recognized for the influence of their work. The Germans were pioneers in so many things and have left us such immortal songs that it is well worth letting yourself be carried away by their electronic nostalgia and answering their call.
Eat on the Street
At many of the events that will take place during the first part of SXSW, you will find trays of various delicacies to tempt your appetite. But it is well worth turning down the canapés to immerse yourself in the always delicious Austin street food. Throughout downtown you will find a wide range of food trucks, with exquisite pizzas, gyros, Asian cuisine, tacos and burgers. You can also drop by El Camino Casino to savor the best hamburger in Austin or stop by the Hideout Theater Café to taste an Espresso and a pastry. The city’s foodie offer is unlimited.
The Noises from the Street
NME magazine and the high-end loudspeaker brand Bosé have teamed up to bring us an interesting set where we will face off with a repertoire of urban music that includes great picks like JVKE, Michelle, Flo Milli, 070 Shake or Jockstrap. The occasion will serve to promote C23, a mixtape that promises to be a benchmark for what is going to be cooked on the street during 2023.
Stay Tuned to the SXSW App so You Don’t Lose the Latest Confirmations
The SXSW is a living and changing being. Every hour a new opportunity arises to go in search of the unsuspected. New concerts, confirmations, events, exhibitions, premieres, or meetings of all kinds with big stars and celebrities are announced at all times on the official festival app and also on our social media. Be aware. Without going any further, we found out yesterday about the confirmations of artists as interesting as Cuco, Manchester Orchestra, Sudan Archives, Remi Wolff or Koffee.
See you in Austin! Do not miss the largest festival in the world on our social media and on the Showmoon website.
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