This week, about 2,000 bands from around the world are performing at various venues throughout Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest music festival. Many of the musicians are young and have had plenty of experience performing in public.
And then there's guitarist Harry Taussig, who is nearly 72 years old. On Thursday, he'll be performing live for the first time ever.
Listen to Stephen Thompson's conversation with Audie Cornish on All Things Considered by clicking the audio link.
The South by Southwest music festival kicked off Tuesday with the first of five straight nights of music overload: The clubs, makeshift music venues and front porches of Austin, Texas, were overrun with little-known discoveries-in-waiting and big names alike, as well as tens of thousands of fans who have flocked to the city in search of epiphanies.
SXSW festival-goers line up at The Parish on Sixth Street in Austin for NPR Music's day party March 15, 2012.
Credit Mito Habe-Evans / NPR
As a music journalist from the North Country, I'd be a fool to pass up the opportunity to head down Austin, Texas, each March for the South by Southwest Music Conference. It provides those of us on the ice-whipped prairie a respite from our endless winter season, not to mention a chance to binge on the best burgeoning artists before they make their way around the country on tour. It's become something of a requisite for many of the musicians, writers, photographers and fans from my hometown.