Phox, one of the thousands of bands scheduled to play South By Southwest in Austin, Texas
Steven James Snyder
03/07/2014 AT 2:00 PM ET
03/07/2014 AT 4:00 PM ET
If you’re a new band trying to build some buzz, there are few gigs more valuable than a set at South By Southwest (SXSW).
Every March, tens of thousands of fans (and a couple thousand bands) descend on the annual music festival in downtown Austin, Texas, eager to both see their favorite stars as well as discover some new acts. As the festival has expanded through the decades (more than 25,000 people lined up in 2013 to see 2,278 groups), SXSW has emerged as a must-stop destination for up-and-comers. Today, it s where bands launch their national tours and unveil their newest album.
Even if you re not heading to Austin for the party (set to run March 11-16), you can still use the occasion to scout new talent. Here s an early playlist of 14 bands (listed alphabetically) that caught our attention, an eclectic mix that reflects the many sounds and styles of SXSW 2014: