SXSW “good” events to watch

Photo: Laura Ferreiro

By Laura Ferreiro

SXSW is in full swing, and thousands of people in the music, tech and film industries have descended upon Austin for the annual gathering. While the sheer number of noteworthy events is enough to make your head spin – approximately 3,000 bands from around the world will perform on stages all over the city – here are a few that have made our radar because they combine music and great causes.

Gram Parsons Foundation launch event Wed March 14

To celebrate the relaunch of the Gram Parsons Foundation, a non-profit that offers addiction and recovery services to artists and musicians and imparts prevention messages to kids, will hold a two-part bash at Hotel San Jose. The day party is free and open to the public (no wristbands or badges required), and features performances by Brendan Benson, Eric Burdon, Blitzen Trapper, Alberta Cross, Great Lake Swimmers, Jenny O and Poor Man (Christian and Casey from Fleet Foxes), and will be streamed live at VenueOne. In the evening there will be a VIP fundraiser with surprise guests and performers. Tickets can be purchased here. For more information, visit

Warby Parker’s Citizens’ Circus March 13-14

This free, all-ages day party at the French Legation Museum combines entertainment from New York’s unique musical circus troupe with socially conscious organizations and companies that will be handing out literature and selling their wares. The event is sponsored by Rock the Vote, which works to engage and build political power for young people in the United States by working at the intersection of politics and popular culture.

It will feature performances by several artists including Big Deal, Father John Misty, La Sera, Dee Dee (Dum Dum Girls), Nikki Lane, Superhumanoids and more, as well as performances by Warby Parker’s Citizens’ Circus. The fun begins at 1 p.m each day. For more information and set times, go here.

KGSR brunches at the W Hotel benefitting Make-A-Wish Foundation

Austin radio station KGSR has the early-morning market cornered with brunches at the W Hotel March 14-17. For a $5 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening diseases, you get a breakfast snack and four hours of exclusive performances from artists including Tom Morello, Blitzen Trapper, Delta Spirit, Ben Kweller, M. Ward, James Mercer of the Shins, Keane, Nada Surf, Graffit 6 and more. It’s hard to beat a deal like this. Go here for more information and set times.

KCRW showcases

Los Angeles’ flagship NPR station KCRW will hold two official showcases with some of the great talent it has been touting over the airwaves. The non-profit, member funded station will feature artists including Alabama Shakes, Temper Trap, Willy Mason Band of Skulls, Honey Honey and Blood Orangeat its showcases March 14 and March 16. Go here for more information and set times.

Perez Hilton’s “One Night In Austin” SXSW party benefitting VH1 Save The Music Foundation

Perez Hilton will donate all the proceeds from his highly anticipated SXSW bash “One Night In Austin” on March 17 to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation to bolster music education in public schools.

This is the first time Hilton is selling tickets to the annual event, which will be held at the Austin Music Hall on Saturday, from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Hilton is revealing the lineup day-by-day on his website leading up to the night. So far, The Ting Tings, Ed Sheeran, Cher Lloyd and Dev have been confirmed as performers.

Arcade Fire post-SXSW lecture on Haiti and service

Arcade Fire have announced that they will give a lecture titled “Hope, Haiti and Service” at the University of Texas at Austin on March 19.  According the University’s website, Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, Will Butler, and Marika Anthony-Shaw of the Montreal-based, Grammy Award-winning band will discuss the current socio-economic crisis in Haiti, and their own volunteer efforts in the region.

The band will also tout the non-profit organization Partners in Health, whose efforts to rebuild Haiti they’ve supported for years. It has also fueled serious speculation that Arcade Fire will make an appearance at SXSW.

And there’s more…

We’re also looking forward to catching The Parlotones, who just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of violence against women and girls in Africa, and the Delta Spirit, who will be taking Invisible Children out on tour with them in support of its Kony 2012 campaign, at several official SXSW showcases and parties. Also, Fiona Apple, who performed at “Love and Haiti, Too: A Music Benefit” and has offered assistance to 826LA, a non-profit that supports young students with their creative writing and offers tutoring for English learners, will debut songs from her first new album since 2005’s “Extraordinary Machine.” She’ll be at the NPR showcase at Stubb’s on March 14 and will surely be popping up around town. Also, Columbian superstar Juanes will discuss his  charitable work for his own Mi Sangre Foundation and as a co-founder of the “Paz sin Fronteras” (Peace Without Borders) organization, which uses music to unite populaces regardless of political or geographic divides and advocate that all people are entitled to the basic human right of peace. He’ll participate in a Q & A at the Austin Convention Center, room 18ABC at 12:30 p.m. on Fri, March 16 before he performs that evening.

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