In its 33rd year, Austin's SXSW still managed to shine with a week of incredible performances, unexpected discoveries and plenty of familiar faces.
The music portion of the wide-ranging conference and festival ran March 11-17, with hundreds of showcases taking place across downtown Austin and beyond. The week was capped by massive performances from the likes of Bleachers, OutKast's Big Boi, Lukas Nelson, Judah and the Lion and a number of others. But there were a lot of lesser names who most definitely stood out.
As has been the trend in recent years, SXSW has veered away from some of the surprise, marquee acts such as the late Prince performing one of his last intimate shows before his unexpected passing, or Lady Gaga performing in a Dorito's vending machine stage, or Kanye West and Jay-Z joining forces for a secret show.
While many fans likely loved the idea of getting to see headliner-level or arena-worthy stars come play small venues in the middle of the Texas capitol, the focus on discovery and budding musicians continues to be for the best. It's what SXSW is about at its core, and it's what it does best. This is still the place where you come to see who's next. It's still the festival where Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, Lizzo and Khalid performed before they were massive names—and where Adele performed for a near-empty room back in 2007.
It's hard to know who's the next Adele or Billie Eilish. But if there was an option to find them, this week was likely one of the best bets, with standout showings from the likes of Pink Sweat$, Republican Hair, The Ezra Collective, The Comet Is Coming, Sir Baby Girl, Thutmose, Kwame, Viagra Boys, Ella Vos and more.
See photos from SXSW 2019 and follow more festival coverage here.