After several years in the Austin Convention Center and Hilton ballrooms, the Austin Music Awards are moving to ACL Live this year. And instead of its longtime spot on the Wednesday of South by Southwest as the music conference hits full gear, the show will be held on Sunday, March 12, two days after SXSW Interactive and Film begin.
Call it another sign that the music, film and interactive conferences are continuing to merge into one indistinguishable string. The Music Awards initially were SXSW’s kickoff bash, back when the event was a music-only affair and began on Wednesday. With music events continuing to be pushed earlier and earlier into the overlap with SXSW Interactive, the awards show being in the middle of the week has increasingly made less sense, so the change isn’t surprising.
Among this year’s performance highlights are a Texas songwriters segment featuring Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Kat Edmonson and others; a “Femmes for SIMS” set including the Trishas, Kelly Willis, Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards, Bluebonnets, Jackie Venson, Carolyn Wonderland and LouLou; and a Fab 5 Freddy hip-hop collaboration with Grupo Fantasma, Jai Malano, Brownout and Sweet Spirit’s Sabrina Ellis.
Special awards will be presented to Terry Allen, who’ll perform with Joe Ely in accepting the first-ever Townes Van Zandt Award, and longtime Austin music professional Rose Reyes, receiving the Margaret Moser Award for industry trailblazers. Musical director Charlie Sexton will lead a house band featuring keyboardist Michael Ramos, drummer Conrad Choucroun and bassist George Reiff.
The show begins at 7:55 p.m. sharp with a blessing and performance by the New Generation Children’s Choir. Tickets, $38-$153, are available via the ACL Live website and at Waterloo Records. Proceeds benefit the SIMS Foundation. Entry is free for those with SXSW credentials, subject to capacity. The event is co-presented by the Austin Chronicle and SXSW, with KUTX’s Laurie Gallardo and Rick McNulty as emcees.