Reading that Mr F had no idea what South by Southwest was, I felt compelled to edumacate him on one of the main reasons Austin considers itself "The Music Capital of the World".
Having lived in Austin since 1994, the South by Southwest music festival has been a constant ever since I arrived in this fine town. Started in 1987, SxSW (or "South by" if you are feeling especially douchey) has grown leaps and bounds since its inception and has added a movie and tech symposium to the multitude of bands and music execs that converge on Austin every March. The festival lasts about 10 days with movies and tech starting off the festivities and finishing up with 6 days or so of music.
Last year, about 2000 bands played in 90 odd venues around town, often with shows starting at 1 or 2 am. Each venue has a lineup each day and night with shows rarely lasting a full hour.
Shit goes on forever, yo. Anyway, lots of big names like to play here incognito as Green Day, The Beastie Boys and Weezer among others have showed up to play in front of surprised fans under assumed names.
Music execs really love this shit. They descend like carrion on the many venues looking for the hot new band to sign. Sadly, Hanson was discovered here as was John Mayer and James Blunt. Sorry everyone.
Anyway, that's it at a high level. 2000 bands in 6 days. Movies. Techie crap. $170+ million pumped into the Austin economy. Suck it Los Angeles!