Mega-names of 2011 SXSW: The Strokes, Duran Duran, Wu-Tang, QOTSA

It’s about three weeks out from the 2011 South By Southwest Music Festival (OK, OK, and Interactive and Film). And like a kid facing finals in her first year of college, we expect some serious cramming.

Cramming because every year mega-stars are added to the Austin fest lineup, mostly to the after-parties, day-parties, off-sites, unofficial showcases, alternative fests like Fader Fort and Red Gorilla. Many acts even do as many as they can — I recall one of the Neon bands (Neon Indian? Neon Trees? Neon Neon?) did 2.1 million shows in Austin 2010.

The showcases for actual fest schedules have been locked in, with these names trickling out as March 16-20 marches closer.

So far, one of the biggest names to be added was announced today: after alluding to an appearance nearly two weeks ago via Twitter, the Strokes have confirmed a free show for March 17.

Manager Ryan Gentles claimed on Twitter that the show would require no badges and, more adorably, “no line.” It’s a walk across the river, sure, but don’t think that a no-holds-barred free show won’t have a scary amount of people present.

Less scary has been the addition of B.o.B., Bright Eyes, Duran Duran (omg), the Wu-Tang Clan (OMG) and Queens of the Stoneage (hi, Josh, hiiiii) in the last few days. Widespread Panic is doing some SXSW/Austin City Limits love-in, Lucinda Williams is helping ring in Lost Highway’s 10-year anniversary.

[More after the jump, with some predictions…]

Crystal Bowersox will get an interview, Yoko Ono will do some speaking and Bob Geldof is keynote.

And Arcade Fire’s Spike Jonze short film “Scenes from The Suburbs” will bow at SXSW Film. Have fun with that, Drew.

You can navigate SXSW’s offical scheduler here and here: any way you view it, it will be impossibly labyrinthine after your fifth michelada (and after skimping on that third taco).

Like I said, there’s undoubtedly still enormous names to come, especially the off-the-cuff, not-so-indie acts saying hi to their handlers working the fest. I can only dream of TV on the Radio, who have a set out in April;  Lupe Fiasco, R.E.M., Rise Against, Mastodon, Pet Shop Boys, Soundgarden, Beth Ditto (of the Gossip), Wiz Khalifa, Panic! At the Disco and others have albums coming out around that time and seem the most likely of the giants that may saunter into the Texas capitol.

I will have more predictions and previews in coming weeks, for some of my favorite acts headed South for March 16-20. In the meantime, who would you like to see at SXSW?