Friday, February 22, 2008

Hear South by Southwest concerts live on NPR

NPR Music returns to the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference and Festival in Austin, TX, next month and, for the first time, will webcast and broadcast live three concerts there. All three shows will be streamed live and archived at, and will be available for broadcast on NPR Member stations across the country. Selected performances may also be podcast.

Additionally, for the second year in a row, NPR and five NPR Member stations – KUT Austin, WFUV New York, WXPN Philadelphia, KEXP Seattle and The Current from Minnesota Public Radio – will offer extensive coverage of the influential music festival on-air and online. In November 2007, these five were among the 12 stations that partnered with NPR on NPR Music, a free multimedia music discovery destination covering all genres that has received enormous critical acclaim from the media, music community and audience worldwide.

Two of the concerts will be SXSW 2008 Showcase Concerts. The first, on Wednesday, March 12 at 8:00PM (CT), marks the SXSW debut of R.E.M. from the equally-legendary Stubbs Bar-B-Q. This performance will be the first broadcast and webcast of songs from the band’s forthcoming release, Accelerate. Opening acts are fellow Athens, GA bands Summerbirds in the Cellar and Dead Confederate; singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice; and Florida-based duo Papercranes. The following evening, March 13, 8:00PM (CT), My Morning Jacket headlines the SXSW Austin Music Hall concert, presented by NPR Music. The evening will also feature music from Yo La Tengo and The Whigs.

As its third event, NPR Music is hosting a live daytime concert on March 13 from the Austin venue The Parish. The show kicks off at 12:30PM (CT) with a largely international bill: The Shout Out Louds and Jens Lekman, both from Sweden; British singer Adele; and stateside artists Yeasayer and Bon Iver. At 4:00PM (CT), celebrated indie rock band Vampire Weekend will take the stage, performing tracks from its debut self-titled release.

The three concerts will be anchored by Bob Boilen, host and creator of NPR Music’s popular show All Songs Considered and its Live in Concert series, who will be joined by other personalities from NPR Music and the NPR Member stations. “Who knew live concerts would work on the web?” said Boilen. “Now, the best bands out there ask to have their performances webcast on NPR. We’ve lined up a marathon of music in Austin: 14 bands, blogs, photographs and video. Bring your own refreshments and put on your headphones.”

Coverage from SXSW by NPR and the five Member stations will be extensive and tap into the music expertise and resources of these organizations. They will provide reports, artist interviews and live performance sessions, to be aggregated and streamed live and archived for on-demand listening at NPR Music’s “Monitor Mix” blogger Carrie Brownstein will also participate in a SXSW Music Festival panel discussion, “The Blog Factor,” on Friday, March 14.

NPR Music launched in November 2007 as a free, comprehensive music discovery destination, featuring content from NPR and 12 NPR Member public radio stations, as well as original-to-NPR Music features such as live performances, studio sessions, interviews, reviews and blogs. Specific sections of the site are dedicated to rock/pop/folk, classical, jazz/blues, world and urban music. The site culls from NPR’s and the stations’ extensive music archives to present thousands of features; the site’s popular Concert section offers hundreds of regional and national web concerts, with more than 15 new performances added each month. The site also provides access to dozens of music podcasts.

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