Korean music festival at 2013 SXSW

By Korea Herald

America’s largest music industry event, South by Southwest triples the number of Korean artists in 2013

  • Published : Mar 5, 2013 - 20:16
  • Updated : Mar 5, 2013 - 20:16

This year will mark Korea’s largest presence yet at SXSW, America’s largest music industry festival, which will be held from March 8-17 in Austin, Texas.

“K-Pop Night Out at 2013 SXSW,” featuring 11 Korean groups, three times as many as last year, will take place at the legendary Elysium live club from March 12-13. On Feb. 12 the SXSW’s official page added f(x) to the lineup, along with other artists including Galaxy Express, Guckkasten, Jeong Cha-sik, No Brain, The Geeks and Yi Sung-yol.
Korean rock trio Galaxy Express, invited to SXSW three times in a row, will perform at the “K-Pop Night Out at 2013 SXSW” which takes place at the Elysium live club in Austin, Texas, on March 12. (KOCCA)
f(x) will be the first K-pop idol group to perform at South by Southwest (SXSW). (KOCCA)

The spotlight on K-pop has largely to do with the success of two previous festivals MU:CON Seoul 2012, the first international music conference which was inaugurated last November in Seoul, and “K-pop Night Out” at MIDEM, March International du Disque et de I’Edition Musicale, held in January in Cannes, France.

All events were held with the support from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the Korea Creative Content Agency, which started the mission to encourage exports of Korean music and K-pop in particular. Nine groups at SXSW will be sponsored by KOCCA this year.

“I believe this is a great opportunity to show the diversity of Korean music which includes not only K-pop leading the Korean Wave, but also a range of indie, alternative and punk rock bands,” said Hong Sang-pyo, president of KOCCA, in a press release.

SXSW is one of the biggest annual music conference and festival events. First held in 1987, the event has now grown into one of the most important and influential music/film festivals in the world.

Last year, 2,300 music acts performed at 100 different venues and were seen by more than 150,000 attendees. Galaxy Express was selected as one of the top live shows at SXSW from the likes of The New York Times.

“It was unexpected, we tried to do our best on stage and it paid off,” said bass guitarist and vocalist Lee Joo-hyun in a phone interview.

Invited to SXSW for three consecutive years, the rock band will be staging tours in North America after the festival period. The trio will play 28 concerts in 14 states from March 7 to April 11, making pit stops in San Francisco, Texas, Chicago, Denver, Arkansas and more.

“Last year when we held the concert we had an audience comprised of a wide range of ages. Regardless of age, everyone enjoyed a good show, it was a phenomenal experience,” said Lee.

“I was fascinated that we could connect with the American audience with barely any English lyrics. Music has more power than words. Rhythm and melody make magic.”

Meanwhile, SXSW has invited Canada’s most influential artists in electronic music. On March 12 the festival will feature world-leading DJ Richie Hawtin and globally renowned electronic artist Deadmau5. The festival will also showcase big shots including U.S. rock icons Green Day, hip-hop maestro RZA, Ghostface Killah from Wu-Tang Clan, and Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl.

By Bae Soo-min, Intern reporter