Reliably Austin
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Your Public Radio Guide To SXSW 2019

Becky Harlan

NPR fans getting ready to go to Austin this March, we've got you covered! Here's your 2019 guide to experiencing the South By Southwest Conference and Festival the public radio way. We've got a run-down ready of panels, meet-ups and, of course, some great music events from NPR and our Member stations.


Tuesday March 12

Tiny Desk Family Hour at the Central Presbyterian Church

8 p.m. - 11 p.m.

The evening commemorates 11 years of Tiny Desk Concerts with musicians who have played the well worn desk of Bob Boilen at NPR. The evening of music includes short stripped down sets in the spirit of the Tiny Desk by both Tiny Desk Concert alumni, contest winners and notable contest participants. Performers will not be announced in advance.

Bob Boilen will host the show, with other members of the NPR Music Team, Stephen Thompson, Robin Hilton and Felix Contreras joining him on stage.

KCRW Showcase at Elysium

8 p.m. - 1 a.m

The KCRW music team is heading to Austin, TX in March for the annual SXSW Music Conference! Jason Bentley, Anne Litt, Jose Galvan, Anthony Valadez, and Chris Douridas will be capturing sights & sounds from the grounds and sharing them with you during KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, on , and via social channels ( @mbekcrw). The talents you don't want to miss at the Elysium are: Indie Rock artist Ambar Lucid (8 p.m.), Pop Singer-Songwriter Westerman (9 p.m.), folk-rock acoustic artist J.S. Ondara (10 p.m.) alternative rock-collective Broken Social Scene (11 p.m.) R&B artist Cautious Clay (12 a.m.) and electronic London-based band, Elderbrook (1.a.m.) For those of you going to SX, be in the know that there are actually two official KCRW showcases to pencil in. In addition to Tuesday's March 12, showcase at the Elysium, KCRW will follow with another showcase on Wednesday, March 13, at the Radio Day Stage. Both showcases are open to anyone with a festival badge or wristband (no RSVP required).

Wednesday March 13

NPR Alt.Latino at Radio Day Stage

12 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Love Alt.Latino? ¡Qué suerte! NPR's Alt.Latino host Felix Contreras will be there to both host and introduce talents such as, Cuban singer-songwriter with an electro-sound, Eme Alfonso (12 p.m) and Brooklyn-based electronic indie band Balún (1 p.m.) whose latest album, Prisma Tropical, ranked #47 in NPR Music's Top 50 Albums of 2018.

KCRW Showcase at Radio Day Stage

3 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Following Alt.Latino at the Radio Day Stage is the second showcase presented by KCRW. The talents include: indie pop quintet Pavo Pavo (3 p.m.), mood music supplier and indie rock singer-songwriter, Tamino (4 p.m.), and a queen of country soul, Yola (5 p.m.) NPR Music's Brittney McKenna described Yola's debut album, Walk Through Fire, as, "the work of an artist sure to stun audiences for years to come."

Epicentro + KEXP SXSW Showcase at Javelina Stage

8 p.m. - 11 p.m.

KEXP and Epicentro will be presenting the best from independent and emerging artists from all over Latin America. Join them on Wednesday, March 13, at the Javelina stage.The lineup is as follows. At 8 p.m., Chicago-based prolific new talent Tatiana Hazel will play beat-driven anthems of independence. Hazel will be followed by , at 9 p.m., whose song, Niña, was featured in 2018 by Alt.Latino in their Songs We Love series. At 10 p.m., HIJOS, an emerging experimental pop rock band from Costa Rica, will play. Next is Buenos Aires' indie pop band Amor Elefante, to perform at 11 p.m. MOÜGLI, a Colombian band that infuses tropical sounds with current electronic trends, will follow for the midnight show. Closing the showcase at 1:00 a.m. is Balún, an electronic indie band with a grasp on reggaeton's Jamaican dancehall roots and shoegaze pop.

Friday March 15

KUTX/KKXT/Radio Milwaukee Showcase at the Radio Day Stage

2 p.m. - 6 p.m.

KUTX/KKT/Radio Milwaukee are all teaming up to showcase some of their favorite artists as of late on the Radio Day Stage this year at SXSW. In case you missed seeing this alternative-rock collective just days prior with KCRW, the Broken Social Scene will play at 2 p.m. Following them is SXSW veteran and favorite of NPR Music, Jealous of the Birds (3 p.m.), whose single "Plastic Skeletons" debuted on All Songs Considered in May 2018. At 4 p.m. the beat heavy psychedelic soul project Black Pumas will perform. Closing out the showcase at 5 p.m. will be experimental indie R&B artist Cautious Clay, following their KCRW set days prior. This will be a live radio broadcast.

Alt.Latino Showcase at the Flamingo Cantina

8 p.m. - 1 a.m.

NPR's Alt.Latino host Felix Contreras will return to host and present a night of entertainment at SXSW's happenin' Flamingo Cantina. At 8 p.m., Brazilian talents Luedji Luna & DJ Nyack will perform a set made up of afro influences, traditional music and electronic beats. Following is PJ Sin Suela, un cantautor puertorriqueño, playing at 9 p.m. Next is Twanguerofrom Spain at 10 p.m. Following is a performance by Cuba's "newest renaissance man" Cimafunkat 11 p.m. After is a midnight performance from multi-cultural group, Sonámbulo Psicotropical. Ending the Alt.Latino showcase is Colombian group Monophonicos at 1 a.m.

Saturday March 16

KUTX's The Breaks Present SXSBreaks at the Barracuda .

8 p.m. - 2 a.m.

KUTX's The Breaks will present an Austin Hip Hop, R&B and Soul Showcase, featuring Harry Edohoukwha, Jake Lloyd, J. Soulja, The Teeta, Nayome, Eazy Boi, Quin NFN, Country Cousins, Deezie Brown, Southside Hippie, Grizz and DJ sets from DJ Manny Mo and Confucius Jones. Barracuda, doors at 8 P.M. SXSW19 badge or wristband required for entry.


Can't physically make it to the music festival in Austin this year? Not a problem. The team at NPR Music has it covered, literally.

SXSW Music Coverage

The Austin 100, NPR Music's annual list of underground musicians to watch at SXSW, is back.

The 100-song mixtape allows users to download every selection for free. Listen on today. NPR Music's All Songs Considered podcast will kick off its annual SXSW coverage on March 13. The All Songsteam will bring on-the-ground, daily podcast dispatches of what they saw and heard at SXSW that day. After SXSW, listeners can expect a recap episode of All Songs detailing their favorite discoveries. All Songs Consideredis available on NPR One and wherever you listen to podcasts.


People and Panels

Illustration by LA Johnson, Jeffery Pierre / NPR

SXSW isn't just about the music. There are plenty of people and places to see. Some of NPR's finest are giving panels, and you'll want to make sure you don't miss them. The event descriptions below were provided by participants to SXSW 2019.

Wednesday March 6

Understanding Students as Consumers of Higher Ed in Hilton Austin Downtown Salon H

2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Are external forces like accreditation or rankings distracting colleges from investing in what matters to students? With the value of college in question today, how can higher education institutions adopt a consumer-mindset? This panel, featuring NPR education reporter Elissa Nadworny, will surface new insights from daily consumer surveys about what students value from college, and provide first-hand accounts of how higher education be more responsive to its consumers: the student.

Podcasting In The Classroom Meetup in the Austin Suite, Austin Convention Center

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

NPR education reporters Anya Kamenetz and Elissa Nadworny will lead a discussion of exciting ways for teachers to incorporate audio production into the curriculum. We'll demystify the podcasting process, from idea generation to recording, editing, and finally, publication. Teachers will have a chance to weigh in about the best strategies and tools they've found for podcasting in their classrooms.

The Art of Discipline in the Age of Screens in the Hilton Austin Downtown Salon G

5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

NPR education reporter Anya Kamenetz will join a panel to discuss the role of screens in childhood development. It's a discussion of the science of executive function, attention, and self-regulation; how the increasing prevalence of technology is affecting children's brains and concentration both in and out of the classroom, and strategies to help them better self-manage. Panelists will describe trauma-informed practices, instructional tools and successful interventions for the most challenging children, and the impact on disproportionate discipline of children of color and those with learning disabilities.

Friday March 8

Maternal Mortality in America: What's Going On? in JW Marriott Salon FG

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

NPR Special Correspondent and Host of NPR News Renee Montagne, will join a panel on maternal mortality, a topic she has extensively covered. Is pregnancy a sacred and revered experience in the eyes of society only for privileged, white women? The U.S. has the highest rate of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth in the developed world. Half of these deaths are preventable, victimizing women from a variety of races, backgrounds and income levels. The spotlight on this issue has led groups to start working on solutions at community, healthcare and policy levels. This panel brings together leaders in this space to discuss what's being done to change the conversation from maternal mortality and disparity to birth equity for all.

Saturday March 9

The Invisible Brand in an Audio-First World in Fairmont Congressional B

3: 30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

NPR Chief Marketing Officer Meg Goldthwaite will bring her 25 years of marketing expertise to a panel discussion on branding in the audio-digital space. Voice activated environments are becoming essential to the way we experience the world around us. Brands are adapting to a world where they no longer visually appear to their audience but must still communicate and make an impact. Are we returning to the tried and true traditions of our radio past? Or will our learnings from the last few decades of dedicated visual storytelling inform how we innovate this next wave of audio-led communication and experience? A lively debate is bound to ensue as radio stalwarts and emerging technologists discuss the future of content creation, branding, and the unique tie between sound and music that just might keep us all together.

Wednesday March 13

Death to Roadways: Ending Traffic with Flying Cars in Fairmont Manchester AB

11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

NPR's Silicon Valley Correspondent Aarti Shahani will join a discussion on the future of the roads. No road-based solution will ever be sufficiently scalable, clean, quiet or fast enough to solve the extent of today's mobility issues. But because of solutions NASA, Bell and other innovators are developing, we soon will solve these problems from the sky. This panel will reveal an everyday, air-based transportation system built to manage traffic and will show how private and public companies are collaborating to ensure that the public adopts air-based mobility solutions without fail.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

Maddie Mortell
Related Content