The Guardian : SXSW 2017 -- Your Guide to the Best Music, Films and TV
Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 1:01PM
DFSB Kollective in Featured Artists, Festival

Premieres from Terrence Malick and Edgar Wright will pull in the crowds, but there’s an impressive list of talks, TV showcases and music to investigate

This year, South by Southwest (SXSW) has had to weather a storm in the buildup to the annual week-long festival in Austin. Artist outrage and an open letter concerning a clause in contracts that seemed to suggest collusion between organizers and immigration officials has seen the festival promise to make a change for 2018. It has overshadowed a year that looks like one of the strongest yet, with the film element snagging premieres from the likes of Terrence Malick and Edgar Wright, and a list of featured speakers that offers looks into the topical issues of surveillance and virtual reality. The TV coverage continues to become an increasingly important part of the festival, with first looks at the highly anticipated Neil Gaiman adaptation American Gods and the film to TV transformation of Dear White People. Music is its usual sprawling mix of on-site showcases and offerings off the beaten path. Here’s our pick of the must-see moments this year.

This year’s music fest has an impressive selection of talks that should satisfy most musical tastes. There’s Nile Rodgers’ keynote (15 March, 11am, Austin Convention Center), where he’ll talk about his career and position as one of the most sampled songwriters ever; while the Beats1 main man, Zane Lowe (16 March, 11am, Austin Convention Center), will also talk shop at his keynote on Friday. Kesha’s discussion about how women can reclaim the internet should be interesting (14 March, 3.30pm, Austin Convention Center), and for those who don’t want to stop, Mick Fleetwood (15 March, 5pm, Austin Convention Center) will talk about his time in a little-known 70s rock act. The musical offerings this year throw up the usual mix of interesting official showcases and potentially more interesting unofficial goings on off-site. Of the officially sanctioned slots, you’d struggle to find a more fun-sounding evening than the K-Pop Night Out (17 March, 7pm, the Belmont), where Red Velvet, Hyolyn of SISTAR and the hip-hop stars Drunken Tiger all preach the gospel of Seoul.

Elsewhere, Spin’s annual shindig looks as tempting as ever with a Tuesday day party being headlined by the perma-jolly rapper Lil Yachty and a night soiree topped off by Real Estate and Sleigh Bells (14 March, 3pm, Empire Garage). Fader Fort is still the place to find some of the most cutting-edge acts from the worlds of hip-hop, R’n’B and indie. It has moved to a new smaller location this year (15-18 March, 1209 East 6th Street AKA Volcom Garden) and the performers we know about so far include Young MA, Downtown Boys and Lizzo, but there’s always the prospect of a huge secret headliner on the final night (last year Drake dropped in). If you’re into country and Americana, Willie Nelson’s annual SXSW offshoot Luck Reunion at his ranch will appeal. Most of the younger generation of acts who have breathed new life into the genres, including Conor Oberst, Margo Price, Brent Cobb, Parker Millsap and Aaron Lee Tasjan.

This year’s festival has become unexpectedly political after the callout over wording in the artist’s contract, which some took exception to. There’s a special showcase of acts hailing from countries impacted by Donald Trump’s travel ban, with Ninjatune man Ash Koosha headlining proceedings (17 March, 1.05am after several other acts, Palm Door on Sixth). One of the acts who sent an open letter to the festival about the contracts was PWR BTTM (15 March, 7.30pm, Stubb’s BBQ). They’ve had a busy 12 months and are playing multiple shows in Austin. Raucous, funny and painfully honest, they’re one of the must-see bands at the festival. More pink triangle action comes courtesy of Weezer, who are one of the bigger bands playing this year with two (announced) gigs – one on the Friday (17 March, midnight, Brazos Hall) and one at Rachael Ray’s 10th SXSW Feedback Party (18 March, 8pm, Stubb’s BBQ).

Reporters : Olivia Solon, Andrew Pulver, Benjamin Lee and Lanre Bakare
International Booking Agent : DFSB Kollective (Drunken Tiger)

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