Huh? SXSW adds Oak Ridge Boys and Little Steven as speakers

02.11.09 9 years ago

In a head-scratching move, the South By Southwest Music Conference and Festival has announced the Oak Ridge Boys as one of the main interviews for the the March 18-22 event in Austin, Texas.

Also, Little Steven has been added as a “featured speaker.” They join previously announced keynoter Quincy Jones.

Here’s the weird thing about South By Southwest–year after year, it books classic artists as speakers whom most of the attending radio programmers would turn into stone before they would play a new track from these acts. Many of the press there has repeatedly turned down interviews with these artists over their new releases–and yet, these acts stand before them, lionized for the trailblazers they are. It always struck me as a little weird, but maybe that’s just me.

One of the great things about SXSW is that, while it undoubtedly rock leaning, it refuses to ignore good music of any mainstream genre. I always thought it was a great place to hear new acts. But the Oak Ridge Boys are a bit of a stretch. I know they’ll be exceedingly entertaining–William Lee Golden lived in a teepee, for God’s sake– and they are still making a living 40 years later–which is a feat worthy of recognition.

SXSW will feature more than 1,800 acts over the five-day event.  A full list will be posted on  on Feb. 16. A great joy of attending SXSW is always meandering down 6th Street–where many of the participating clubs are located–and popping in in hopes of hearing/discovering something great. It happened to me many times and was always a better bet than trying to squeeze into a jammed venue to see a nationally-known act that will be coming to Los Angeles later that week anyway.

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