The bands not to miss at SXSW Music Festival 2023 in Austin

Killer Mike of Run the Jewels performs with Run the Jewels at the 2017 Austin City Limits Music Festival. Killer Mike will return to Austin to speak at the conference and play a solo set during SXSW 2023.

South by Southwest season is upon us. This year, 1,400 bands will travel to Austin from all over the world for the music festival and conference taking over downtown Austin from March 13-18.

With the March madness days of superstar pop-ins mostly behind us, the lineup leans into the festival’s original identity as a discovery event and a place where legacy artists can launch new projects.

We’ll do a deeper dive into the roster over the next week, but here are 20 artists our critics are most excited about. We’ve listed official showcases, but as usual with SXSW, you’ll have more than one chance to catch most of these acts.

DEBORAH SENGUPTA STITH’S PICKS

PinkPantheress

British pop artist PinkPantheress played an early set at Austin City Limits Music Festival 2022. She returns to Austin for SXSW as a rising star.

The British singer-songwriter hits the fest as “Boy’s a liar, pt. 2,” her collab with red-hot rapper Ice Spice, hovers near the top of the Billboard charts. Reminiscent of the time when an ocean-eyed Billie Eilish hit the fest on her first sold-out tour, this is your chance to hear the 21-year-old singer’s evolved bedroom pop up close as she bursts into stardom. Will Ms. Spice make a surprise appearance? It does not seem unlikely. (Time TBA March 14 at Mala Vida)