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A Spring Music Break at South By Southwest

Early on, the music scene in Austin, Texas, featured country, folk and blues, expanding to include jazz, rock, punk, hip-hop, electronica and almost any permutation of those genres. Austin claims more original-music venues in a concentrated area than any other city in the world, and as a college town it developed a reputation as a welcoming music lab.

But there was one problem: relative to the East and West coast music industries, the Texas state capital sits in the middle of nowhere. So in 1987, the South By Southwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW) was born. And the festival associated with the deal-making conference has really taken off.

In March, more than 10,000 music fans and music-industry creatures landed in Austin, thrilling to the prospect of checking out roughly 1,300 bands at 50-plus SXSW venues over five hectic days. My goals: to hear some of the most talked-about emerging musicians, and gather ideas for stories. What follows is a day-by-day blow-by-blow of how it went.

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Elaine Heinzman