SXSW Music Festival 2014
Tuesday, 18th Mar 2014
Last week, we visited SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. What originally began as a $10 music showcase has grown to be one of the best-known festivals in the USA, drawing over 25,000 official registrants for a two week conference focusing on interactive technology, music and film. Every year, hundreds of artists travel from all over the globe to play to crowds at what's known by many as the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’. SXSW is just as well known for its official schedule as it is for off-calendar gigs, with musicians lining the city’s historic 6th Street and taking over barbeques, carparks and patios.
British acts have been flocking to SXSW for years and 2014 was no exception. From relative newcomers such as Thumpers, Temples and Wolf Alice to super-acts like Damon Albarn and Coldplay; SXSW offers the opportunity to see big names in small settings and a platform for some of the UK’s best new music. The BBC's Huw Stephens hosted his annual showcase at the intimate Latitude 30, presenting British artist Bipolar Sunshine to a packed-out crowd. Other stand-out performances came from Baltimore trio Future Islands and the hotly tipped Chlöe Howl.
British artists also featured in the SXSW Film schedule - former Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins premiered The Possibilities Are Endless, the story of his recovery after a stroke left him without memory and able to utter just two phrases: 'the possibilities are endless' and his wife's name, 'Grace Maxwell'. The poignant film, directed by James Hall and Edward Lovelace, received an incredible response from both critics and attendees at the festival.
Whilst SXSW continues to grow - pop behemoth Lady Gaga held a keynote speech - its charm still lies in the presentation of break-through acts from across the globe, many of whom may be headlining festivals this time next year.