Attending 2021 SXSW’s Music Festival Online is Still 100% Worth It

SXSW has been the music event of the year since 1987. Musicians and music-lovers from all over the world flock to Austin, Texas. to see their favorite bands, discover new musicians, and party with like-minded folk. BTRtoday has made the pilgrimage many times. From throwing shows to just being part of the chaos, SXSW has a special place in our hearts.

COVID-19 hit mere weeks before the start of last year’s SXSW, which was quickly canceled. The pandemic was still fresh in the U.S. at that point, so the announcement broke many hearts. We’re used to show cancellations by now, but last March we were just not ready.

This year, SXSW will be entirely online. Even though we’re not getting the usual rowdiness and pleasant sex-drugs-and-rock’n’roll surprises that come with the in-person festival, we’re still excited to discover new bands.

Virtual SXSW will be a totally unique experience with artists from around the world showcasing in venues ranging from legendary to dive and beyond. An SXSW public relations email reads, “Many have been inspired to choose some unusual, as well as iconic, settings for their showcases including a Taoist temple, a machine factory and an indoor shrimp fishing spot in Taiwan, a cable car in Norway, a Los Angeles freeway overpass, Abbey Road Studios and the 606 Club in London, the historic Leith Theatre in Scotland, suburban and bush backyards across Australia, a café-floriculture in Brazil, The Powerstation in New Zealand and Austin hometown favorites Hotel Vegas and Empire Control Room & Garage.”

So, even though you won’t be able to feel the heat of bodies moshing around you, the sweat and passion from the artists oozing off the stage, or attend any exclusive after-parties, it’s still a festival worth catching.

A Place to Bury Strangers (U.S.), Drinking Boys & Girls Choir (South Korea), El Shirota (Mexico), Paul Jacobs (Canada), Say Sue Me (South Korea), Sorry (U.K.), Squid (U.K.), The Chats (Aus.), and Iceage (Denmark) are just several underground artists from the first and second announcement of bands that we’re stoked to see perform. Underground artists are the name of our game here at BTRtoday, so don’t overlook these guys even if you can only watch the show through a screen.

In fact, this is a great opportunity to gather your pandemic pod buddies, or set up a projector in a large backyard (with everyone masked up, of course), drink some Texas-staple Lone Star beers, and create your own SXSW-inspired pandemonium while you stream the shows.

The online event is March 16 – 20. You can purchase your SXSW online pass here.