South By Southwest music fest broadcasts online from Austin, Texas

By JAKE COYLE

The Associated Press

The South by Southwest music festival is spreading through online broadcasts and downloadable podcasts.

Beginning Wednesday, NPR will provide extensive broadcasts of the festival, held annually in Austin, Texas, where 1,300 bands are squeezed into a few downtown blocks for four nights. If you’re not in Austin, the next best place might be www.NPR.org/southbysouthwest.

The site will cull performances hosted by NPR member stations (KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif.; KUT in Austin, WFUV in New York, KEXP in Seattle and WXPN in Philadelphia). More than 20 acts can be heard live, including the groovy electronica of Fujiya & Miyagi.

For the first time, there’ll be round-the-clock live broadcasts through DirecTV, with performances and programming hosted by MTV VJ Matt Pinfield and Slunt lead singer Abbey Gennet. “SXSW Live” will air Thursday through Saturday. Interactive options will offer information on performing bands.

Daily reviews, video and blogging from the festival can be found from a number of sources. Some of the most robust coverage will be at Spin.com, Pitchforkmedia.com and asap, The Associated Press’ multimedia service for readers in their 20s and 30s.

Music is only a part of the festivities at SXSW, which also has numerous panels and industry discussions. (This year’s keynote speaker: Pete Townshend.)

But SXSW is growing more and more into a three-headed monster film and interactive festivals, as well. Panel discussions from them are gradually becoming available as podcasts through SXSW’s official site at: http://2007.sxsw.com/coverage/podcasts/.

What’s your favorite Web site? E-mail AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle at fcoyle@ap.org