The 2017 South by Southwest Festival returns to Austin, Texas this week. The annual music and film festival runs March 10-19. It includes film screenings, gaming and comedy events, artist showcases and informative panels among countless day parties and other events, and Taste of Country has rounded up the top acts that country fans will want to make sure to see.
While the festival typically boasts independent acts, country music will be well-represented at this year's event. We narrowed down the list of hundreds of performers to five must-see country acts for you. While Garth Brooks will be one of SXSW's featured music keynote speakers, Lady Antebellum are also set to attend the festival as part of the CMA Songwriters Series showcase. Newcomers Ryan Hurd and Caitlyn Smith are playing at SXSW, too, and as Lady A's Charles Kelley predicts, Smith is not one to miss.
Additionally, country rockers A Thousand Horses will be in Texas to take part in their label's showcase. They join Delta Rae, Midland and additional special guests for Big Machine Label Group's event.
Below, find Taste of Country's list of five must-see artists at 2017 SXSW.
Ryan Hurd is making a name for himself as a solo artist after years of focusing on writing songs for other artists. While he's currently touring the country as part of Thomas Rhett's Home Team Tour, he'll make a stop at this year's 2017 SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, as part of Pandora at SXSW's showcase at 4PM at the Gatsby on Monday (March 13). The singer will bring his unique brand of country to the stage merging honest songwriting with a rock-based performance. He's an act you don't want to miss!
A Thousand Horses
A Thousand Horses are set to perform at Big Machine Label Group's showcase during SXSW on Friday (March 17) at Easy Tiger in Austin. These Southern rockers will surely bring grit and soul to their set, performing songs off their rollicking BMLG debut Southernality, including the No. 1 hit "Smoke." Additionally, their brand-new single "Preachin' to the Choir" will transport festival-goers to church with striking backing singers that add the flavor of a gospel choir to the song.
Garth Brooks will take part in a Music Keynote Conversation with Vice President of Amazon Music Steve Boom. Slated for Friday (March 17), 2PM, at the Austin Convention Center Room 18ABCD, it is a discussion not to be missed. Brooks' long legacy includes him becoming the first artist in history to receive seven Diamond awards for his now seven albums certified by the RIAA at more than 10 million album sales each. The country icon will shed some light onto his storied career and likely give sound advice to those dreaming of their shot in music.
Lady Antebellum are headed to Austin to take part in the CMA Songwriters Series alongside frequent collaborators Nicolle Galyon and busbee. On March 16, the band will perform in the round and share the stories behind many hits at 8PM at the Moody Theater. Following the CMA set, Lady A will also take part in a live taping of ACL Live at the Moody Theater.
After years of writing hits for a diverse list of singers, including everyone from Kenny Rogers and Garth Brooks to Lady Antebellum and Meghan Trainor, Caitlyn Smith is pursuing an artist career of her own. If there is one artist to seek out during SXSW, it is Smith, whose powerful vocals often bring silence to a rowdy audience. She recently received a standing ovation at the Ryman Auditorium for her spellbinding performance of "Tacoma," a song Brooks originally recorded. Catch Smith on March 18 at Stubb's BBQ at 10:30AM and the Driskell at midnight.
What Acts Do You Want to See at SXSW?
Who did we miss? Which artists at SXSW are on your itinerary to catch? Let us know in the comments!