It's Spring Break for the New York music scene. The South by Southwest Music Festival kicks off on Tuesday evening, bringing musicians and industry professionals from around the country to Austin, Texas for a week of showcases, meetings and elbow-rubbing. The festival has long served as a way of connecting up-and-coming bands to labels, booking agents and journalists.
As always, bands from New York City are playing a big part.
"Sometimes I get the sense that every important rock band today is from Brooklyn," said Jim Fusilli, a rock critic for The Wall Street Journal. "I imagine that Williamsburg is about half-empty right now."
Fusili added: "New York has always been a central place for popular music, but what's happening now in Brooklyn is really unprecedented."
Of the 2,000 plus bands performing at the festival this year, a whopping 225 are from New York. That number does not include the many bands that play unofficial showcases in Austin throughout the week.
Tuesday night's kick off will feature concerts on 10 stages. The performances run through March 20.
Click below to get free downloads from bands performing at SXSW 2011 that WNYC has featured as part of its Gig Alerts series.