Re-entering the world of live conventions is both exciting and a little daunting. But High Voltage has been covering SXSW in Austin, TX since its early days (including last year’s online edition) and 2022 marks the return to the in-person melee. Events begin Friday March 11th and carry on through Saturday the 20th and will include panels, showcases, activations, and more featuring all the latest in Film, Music, and Technology. With so much to do and see, it helps to enter the event with a few simple goals. So, whether you’re attending the event yourself, checking out the online offerings, or just anxious to hear what’s trending this year, let’s prep for a busy week with our 5 Goals for SXSW 2022.
1. Fall in love with a new band
Objective number 1 is using this time in Austin to sample all the up-and-coming artists gathering from around the world. Doing some homework going into the Music Fest, here are a few bands to keep your eyes on:
- Wet Leg – perhaps the buzziest band heading into the fest, this British duo has garnered much praise based on limited Stateside touring. Their debut self-titled album is out April 8th.
- Beatnik Bandits – If you’re in need of some foot-stomping folk rock grooves (and who isn’t?!?), be sure to check out Austin’s own Beatnik Bandits.
- ME REX – With shades of Frightened Rabbit and some inventive ideas on how to perform and consume music (check out their 52 mini-track album, Megabear) ME REX is a must see in Austin. Not only are they playing typical showcases, but they are also participating in a comedy podcast.
- Jade Bird – Everyone’s favorite from SXSW 2018 returns to show off songs from her new album, Different Kinds of Light. She will be part of the Rolling Stones & SHE Media: Change Makers event.
- Everyone playing at the Sounds Australia Showcase – Australian artists gather together for one of the top events of the week, a daytime showcase at The Australia House featuring promising, and diverse acts such as Mane, Tom West, Jo Schornikow, Alex The Astronaut, Little Quirks, and more!
- Self Esteem – With descriptors such as “experimental pop”, eyebrows can rise but mastering this new trend of spoken words over music is UK’s Rebecca Lucy Taylor, otherwise known as Self Esteem. For more on this trend check out talk-y rockers Yard Act and talk-y folkster Cassandra Jenkins.
- daysormay – The charming yet chaotic “Just Existing” earn these Vancouver rockers further attention. Their official showcase closes out the week!
2. Hang with The Boys
Prime Video announced an immersive experience called “Superheroes and Superstars” that features the unusual pairing of The Boys VoughtLand castle (complete with Homelanders’s Red, White and Booze Bar) and pop star Lizzo’s positive affirmation tunnel and Juicebox bar (celebrating her upcoming reality competition Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls premiering March 25th).
This experience is available Friday, March 11th – Monday, March 14th and is located at 604 Driskill Street.
You can also catch The Boys panel Saturday, March 12th at the Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D as stars and executive producer Eric Kripke discuss the upcoming third season of the hit show. Speaking of, enjoy this teaser trailer:
3. Watch films from the comfort of home/hotel
One of the best parts of SXSW Online in 2021 was being able to watch some of the film offerings online and at home! SXSW heard the praise of this concept and decided that in 2022, anyone with credentials can watch select film offerings online after their debut (for 48 hours). Here are some top options on the Film Track:
- WeCrashed – okay, not a film, but SXSW 2022 features the world premiere of the first episode of this TV series starring Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway that is based on the rise and fall of WeWork told through the perspective of a love story.
- Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood – Richard Linklater returns to animation and taps into 1960’s nostalgia by telling the tale of the first moon landing through the viewpoint of a child (using the voices of Jack Black, Zachary Levi, and Glen Powell).
- I Love My Dad – in this film, Patton Oswalt uses social media to catfish his estranged son. I mean, what can possibly go wrong?!?
- Cha Cha Real Smooth – this drama is about an unconventional relationship between a wayward young man who is working as a “motivational dancer” and a mother and her daughter. It stars writer/director Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson.
- Swimming with Sharks – another new TV show, this one a drama starring Kiernan Shipka as a young woman starting out in Hollywood who has a growing obsession with her boss (Diane Kruger).
- Linoleum – What feels like an intriguing blend of comedy and sci-fi, this film features Jim Gaffigan as a father who take the opportunity to build a rocket ship from parts of a crashed satellite. “Surreal” events start taking place, but his family chalks it all up to midlife crisis.
- Seriously Red – This narrative feature from Australia is about a woman who trades in her nine to five life to become a Dolly Parton impersonator. The film is categorized as a musical and will feature all the classic Dolly Parton hits!
4. Attempt to understand the point of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens)
We’ve been hearing all about blockchain at SXSW for years, but now techies, artists, and businessmen alike have come together to claim a practical use for these units of data that can be bought, sold, and traded in a digital space. The NFT acronym is pervasive this year in Austin, found not just in the tech track talks, but all over the exhibition hall, activations, parties, and networking events across genres of innovation. Even Dolly Parton is talking about them and using NTFs to promote new music! But what exactly are NFTs and how will they be used in the future? Are the just a digital age version of the Beanie Baby or will they have practical implications? Maybe a week surrounded by the word and talking to people who are clearly excited for their arrival in the general public sphere will help enlighten.
5. Talk to people about their passions
Networking is not generally a fun activity and after two years of online posting and virtual meetups, online networking has started to feel like everyone’s passion is some sort of marketing pitch. SXSW offers the opportunity for organic conversation in a fun environment. There is much joy in seeing someone’s face light up when talking about their passion project or latest niche interest. And with so many topics to cover across the week, you never know what the person next to you might say when you ask what brings them to Austin.
SXSW helps facilitate these conversations with a variety of lounges and networking spaces. This year we’ve got “metaverse” spaces like the FLUF Lounge or Doodles SXSW, environment-friendly zones such as the Shell House and Global Street Farm, a health focused Walk in the Park Lounge from Nomi Health, and the Cheetos House where all tech is “hands free” so cheese dust on your fingers is not a problem!
Hope this blueprint helps to inspire or plan out your week. And if you’re heading to Austin don’t forget: bring multiple pairs of comfortable shoes!