A Minnesotan’s Guide To SXSW 2014

March 12, 2014

I’m feeling the springtime thaw, which means it’s time to explore some of the new sounds in music, ideas in film and gadgets in tech by following all things SXSW.

Every spring in Austin, Tex., this festival-turned-conference brings out celebrities, nerds, media types and the rockers in your neighborhood garage band. SXSW has become a behemoth in all these industries and its fun to see what Minnesotans are bringing to the Lone Star State.

Prince closed out SXSW last year in a tight-knit, funk filled show that included six encores. Really, he extended the festival a day as the show went on until 3 a.m.

Even though Prince isn’t scheduled to perform this year — but who knows, he may just appear — the talent for 2014 looks promising.

Here’s a roundup of Minnesota’s role in the fest:

St. Paul’s charitable nonprofit label, Rock the Cause is taking its movement south to build buzz for its tribute album to late Ohio indie rocker Jason Molina. He lost his battle with alcoholism in 2011. The album’s title track, “Farewell Transmission,” is performed by Kentucky band, My Morning Jacket, and features a tremendous Minnesota cast. Proceeds from the album will go to MusiCares. RTC’s SXSW party is this Friday in Austin, but you can catch a local release party April 19 at First Ave.



In film, Minnesota-produced documentary “Wicker Kittens” explores the world of competitive jigsaw puzzling, something I had no clue existed. Apparently, around the time of the St. Paul Winter Carnival, hundreds flock to the Landmark Center for the nation’s largest jigsaw puzzle contest. New York based film maker Amy Elliot and Duluth based producer Mike Schultz follow four teams during the 2011 competition. Screening three times at SXSW, the film will have a local premiere at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival April 3.


I’m most excited for what’s happening this Friday. The Midwest is being showcased at the SXSW 2014 Day Party, presented by First Avenue, Madison’s Majestic Theatre, Chicago venue Metro and eTix. It goes down this Friday with an indoor and outdoor stage, featuring many Minnesota acts, including the two must listens below. Lizzo, who has recently revived her sound with Doomtree’s Lazerbeak, closes the outdoor stage set. Side note: Her single “Paris” was featured on HBO’s “Girls.”



And beaming with hometown pride, Minnetonka’s John Mark Nelson will close the indoor stage set.



And thanks to the Current, you can listen to everything happening at the Day Party stage on Friday. They are teaming up with public radio stations from New York, Philadelphia, Dallas and Austin for “Public Radio Rocks.” If you can’t make it to Austin this Friday, it’s the next best thing!