Local Current Blog

MN at SXSW: An overview of the local presence at this year’s festival

Dessa is one of the showcasing acts at this year's SXSW. (Elli Rader)


One of the coolest things about attending SXSW as a Minnesotan is observing just how far and wide our hometown artists manage to spread out during the week. The music festival is an overwhelming sensory experience, with every last bar, restaurant, and street corner overflowing with artists hoping to be seen and heard, and each artists and promoters from our state attempt to break through the din with an array of Minnesota-centric showcases and a healthy roster of acts accepted into the festival as official showcasing acts.

Though I won’t be attending this year, there are plenty of acts from the North Country that I plan to keep tabs on from afar. The Current will also have a presence at the fest, and I’ve included all that info below along with a roundup of the Minnesota acts planning to attend. If you know of additional acts or parties, feel free to leave them in the comments.


SXSW Showcasing Artists with MN Ties:

The Blind Shake
Haley Bonar
Kevin Bowe and the Okemah Prophets
Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons
Free Energy

Gary Louris
The Melismatics
No Regular Play
The Ocean Blue
Off With Their Heads
On an On
Solid Gold
Strange Names

The 4onthefloor


MN Showcases, Official and Unofficial:

The week starts off with a band with the appropriately titled Mother of All SXSW Showcases, a two-stage, 14-hour-long party at the East Avenue Lounge organized by Chaperone Records, Funk-It Records, and Boutique Farm. A whopping 20 bands are on the bill, including BNLX, Charlie Parr, Ol’ Yeller, Southwire, Actual Wolf, the Color Pharmacy, and many more. Full lineup and set times.

On Thursday night, Marijuana Deathsquads and Solid Gold will perform at the Paradigm showcase at the Mowhawk, alongside a lineup of buzzy national acts.

Sleep Study will be playing a pair of gigs at SXSW this year, both for the Study Breaks Magazine party at the Nook Amphitheater; the first will happen Thursday night, March 14, and the second on Friday afternoon, March 15.

MN_Nice_SXSW_Poster_WEB_FINAL_LARGEv.2The two most high-profile Minnesota SXSW showcases are going head to head once again this year, with both Vita.mn and First Avenue’s parties kicking off at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 15. For their third annual SXSW event, First Avenue has partnered with eTix and Madison venue the Majestic to present a showcase of artists from both Minnesota and Wisconsin. The two-stage event at Holy Mountain will feature headlining performances by Dessa and Field Report, plus MN acts Solid Gold, the 4onthefloor, Off With Their Heads, Dosh, and Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles alternating sets with WI acts PHOX, Count This Penny, F. Stokes, Masked Intruder, and Brandon Beebe.

Vita.mn, on the other hand, is partnering with McNally Smith College of Music to set up camp at the Liberty Bar for their showcase MN Nice. Acts on that bill include Knifight, BNLX, Haley Bonar, Wiping Out Thousands, The Chalice, Henri Bardot, Elyse Barnard, Yesha Townsend, and Vita.mn’s Are You Local? best-new-band winner Carroll.

Gary Louris will headline an official showcase on Friday night at the TenOak Bourbon House and Lounge, and will share the bill with fellow Minnesotans the Melismatics and Kevin Bowe and the Okemah Prophets.

Copycats Media is hosting its third annual SXSW day party on Saturday, March 16 at the Blind Pig, and their event will also feature Dessa headlining alongside a “surprise special guest,” K. Flay, whysowhite, and Sean Anonymous. No badge or RSVP required; the event is free and open to the public.

And the Take Off Tour is hosting three separate parties during the festival, all with the same lineup. Heatbox, Sine Circle, Case Shannon of the Set, NimoTheHooligan, and DJ Elsewhere will perform March 14 at the Dizzy Rooster, March 15 at Amped, and Saturday night, March 16 at the Chuggin’ Monkey. More info here.


What the Current’s Doing:

The Current is co-sponsoring several of the Minnesota showcases (including MN Nice and the First Avenue party) in addition to helping present the Public Radio Rocks day stage at the Austin Convention Center along with like-minded noncommercial stations KXT (Dallas), KUT (Austin), WFUV (New York), and XPN (Philadelphia). Check out the full lineup in the flyer below, and tune to 89.3 the Current on Friday, March 15, starting at noon for a live broadcast of the event.

Additionally, the Current’s David Safar and Jim McGuinn will be calling in to the station with the latest from the festival at 9:05 a.m. and 5:05 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, and 9:05 a.m. Friday, March 15. David Safar will air a recap of SXSW on Monday, March 25 during his show, New Hot.


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