Known as the “live music capital of the world,” Austin earns its title every spring during the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. At this year’s event, March 13 to 18 (with interactive and film segments starting on March 9), see a wide variety of performers—from unsigned soul singers to legendary bluegrass bands—play outdoor BBQ joints, small bars, and downtown street corners.
WHERE TO HEAR
In a town full of music venues, it can be hard to decide where to go first. Will Sheff, lead singer for the Austin indie rock band Okkervil River—whose sixth album, I Am Very Far, comes out in May—pares down the list.
“Emo’s has a lot of local band nights, and they’ve also had legends, including Johnny Cash, play there. It’s the epitome of Austin—an unpretentious, homey, friendly, punk dive.” 603 Red River St., (512) 505-8541, emosaustin.com.
Scottish Rite Community and Children’s Theatre
“What I like about this elegant theater is its air of mystery and romanticism. I’ve seen shows there where the audience was completely rapt. ” 207 W. 18th St., (512) 472-5436, scottishritechildrenstheatre.org.
“The owner’s band, Donn and the Station Masters, plays three-hour sets on Tuesdays and Fridays. All kinds of people will be dancing and drinking. It feels like a taste of Austin from the ’60s and ’70s.” 1600 W. 5th St., (512) 478-0336, donnar.home.texas.net.