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YouTube @ SXSW 2011

By Sarah Bardeen

Music Community Manager

It’s that time of year again. Austin BBQs are prepping their short ribs while a vast array of musicians, filmmakers, and the tech-obsessed head down to the Lone Star State for SXSW’s Music, Film and Interactive Festival. And YouTube, of course, will be there!

YouTube has been a home for independent artists of all stripes since its inception. Recently, we put independent and aspiring film-makers on the world stage with “Life in a Day,” an historic cinematic experiment to document a single day on earth. The film, directed by Kevin Macdonald, produced by Ridley Scott and filmed by YouTube users around the world, had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January and is now part of the official line-up at SXSW. For those of you in Austin next week, you can catch screenings of the film Wired Magazine called “provocative, gorgeous and...deeply moving” on Tuesday, March 15, at 11:30am at The Paramount; Wednesday, March 16, at 9pm at Regal Westgate Stadium; and Saturday, March 19, at 7:30pm at The Alamo Lamar 6.

But our presence at SXSW isn’t limited to film - our commitment to providing support for the globe’s vast array of musical talent will be highlighted in three different events over the course of the week. We invite those of you attending the festival to join us:

YouTube’s closing night of film/opening night of music party
9 p.m. Tuesday March 15 @ Maggie Mae’s

The bands are amazing, and if you’re a 21+ badge-holder, the price is right. Beatboxing wizard Beardyman, the crazily talented (and yes, funny) British artist who’s used YouTube in pretty creative ways opens the night. Then it’s on to Playing for Change, the heartwarming and mostly virtual collective of musicians from around the world; be prepared to sing along. Next up is budding Danish electro-pop sensation Oh Land, whose inventive compositions hide a solid pop sensibility in their dreamy folds. The night closes with Das Racist, a comic rap group who have landed on so many critics’ lists recently, you might be forgiven for thinking they’re actually serious artists. (Okay, they actually are.) They’ve also had a strong YouTube presence since their start. You’ll be able to check out all these musicians on the YouTube homepage this Tuesday.

NPR Music's live From The Parish 

12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, March 17
YouTube is supporting NPR’s showcase event, which is headlined by Brooklyn “nightmare shoegaze” act The Antlers, a group who won attention for its 2009 cycle of absorbing and intensely felt songs. Also on the bill are Welsh indie band The Joy Formidable and indie supergroup Wild Flag, which includes members of Sleater Kinney among many others. Mali’s diva Khaira Arby is a live singer of stunning power who recently collaborated with Brooklyn group The Sway Machinery; watch out for an incantatory set. Oakland’s brilliant sonic tinkerer tUnE-yArDs will make an appearance, and get there early to see Colin Stetson, the Arcade Fire saxophonist whose new solo album is a remarkable piece of avant-garde composition. (Rarely has a sax sounded so little like a sax!) The show is free and open to the 21+ public.

Other Music/Dig for Fire’s lawn party
1 p.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18
When the iconic, taste-making New York record store Other Music and video-making wunderkinds Dig for Fire join forces to produce a two-day event with four sets, watch out. You could be entering music heaven in the form of a lawn party. Headliners include dance-punk darlings !!!, buzzworthy indie rocker Ted Leo, Scotland’s guitar-pop guru Edwyn Collins and the afore-mentioned tUnE-yArDs. Our money’s on James Blake’s 5 p.m. Friday set to bring down the, uh, lawn with his soulful, minimalist meditations -- and there are a slew of other wonderful musicians rocking the two stages both days.