SXSW, the annual Austin music festival normally praised as a music lover's paradise, has recently tread into some unfamiliar waters: criticism.
Critics and fans alike have been quick to voice their plans to skip the forthcoming music festival altogether, including music journalist Andrea Swensson, who complained about the increasingly long lines and a played out scene in an extended op-ed for NPR.
An excerpt from the editorial reads:
“…each time I return to SXSW, those glimmering moments that remind me why I traveled all that way in the first place get fewer and farther between. The promise of that quintessential SXSW moment dangles in front of my nose like a carrot as I dash from concert to concert, but as time passes more hurdles seem to have sprouted up to further complicate the obstacle race that is downtown Austin.”
Meanwhile, in what appears to be a glimmer of hope for the music gathering, two new developments have taken place: a live stream and a potential Justin Timberlake performance.
McDonald’s and Internet music streaming service Spotify have announced that a live feed from the Spotify House venue will be available March 11th through March 15th for out-of-towners wanting in on the scene. The stream could encourage a lighter turnout to the more popular events, giving fans that intimate, AKA classic “SXSW,” experience.
Featured acts on the stream will include Kendrick Lamar, Youngblood Hawke, Cazzette, Robert Delon, and others.
It’s also rumored that Timberlake will make an unscheduled appearance at the fest, serving as a final crescendo to the promo campaign for his forthcoming album The 20/20 Experience, due out March 19. Needless to say, a massive turnout at a JT show could free up space at competing events.
The jury's still out on whether these two developments are cause for celebration amongst SXSW fundamentalists or just a band-aid on a much bigger problem.