South By Southwest Goes Korean-Pop


The South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival (SXSW) has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1987. The main reason the festival started was to showcase local music acts, and bring music representatives to check out what talent Texas had to offer. Since the strong growth of SXSW, a film festival and interactive conference was added in 1994 for the same reasons the music festival originated. From 700 registrants in 1987, this years’ SXSW has grown to 16,000 registrants in music, film, and interactive. Last year 2,000 musical artists, and bands performed at SXSW, all coming from 55 different countries.


In South Korea, Korean-Pop (better known as K-Pop) is a genre of music that is popular in Korea. This mostly includes pop music, music in the Top 40 category, boy/girl bands, and individual artists, such as Psy. With the international success of “Gangnam Style” the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) approached SXSW to include South Korean bands to their 2013 festival. The mission statement for KOCCA proclaims it “…is committed to the growth of Korea’s content industry which offers content such as animation, licensed characters, comics, music, mobile content, movies, TV programs and games. In addition, KOCCA carries out various support projects to grow the content industry of Korea to be a leading global content provider, which takes the lead of creative economy.” James Minor, SXSW Music Festival GM, worked together with KOCCA to create K-Pop Night Out. K-Pop Night Out was an event to bring to light seven different Korean artists or bands from varying genres to a Western audience.


KOCCA introduced various K-Pop bands, and SXSW came up with the final line-up. The final line-up that was chosen is a reflection of SXSW’s roots. Bands such as No Brain (punk), Galaxy Express (garage rock), Jeong Cha Sik (rock experimentalist), Guckkasten (alternative rock), and others played to a successful crowd that was very diverse.


This year SXSW and KOCCA are bringing back K-Pop Night Out with two showcase events. The first event on March 11, will include Jambinia, NELL, Kiha and the Faces, Crying Nut, IDIOTAPE, Jay Park, and HyunA. The second event on March 13, features returning punk band No Brain, Smacksoft, Big Phony, Glen Check, Rock N’ Roll Radio, and Love X Stereo.

When asked if K-Pop Night Out will continue at SXSW, Minor assured that the event will carry on.

“We will continue to do these as long as it makes sense and as long as KOCCA wants to. There does not appear to be a shortage of exciting talent in South Korea, so I can’t see an end in sight.” – James Minor, SXSW Music Festival GM.

SXSW takes place in Austin, Texas from March 7-16 in various venues. For tickets, schedules and more information please visit http://sxsw.com/.

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