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South by Southwest 2021: Our Picks from the Virtual Lineup

The Red Headed Stranger is a keynote speaker for the virtual lineup

The 35th annual South by Southwest Conference & Festivals may not be in-person this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but the virtual programming is on par with the history of this world-class event. This year’s lineup is impressive with speakers, headliners and performances from the most influential music artists. Here are a handful that aren’t to be missed:

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil

Photo courtesy of OBB Media

As an opening-night headliner of the now-virtual South by Southwest film festival, Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil sets to unpack the truth behind the famed pop singer’s turbulent life and near-fatal overdose in 2018. Speaking with candor rarely heard among her peers, Lovato is sure to keep fans’ rapturous attention throughout its four parts and will be available to watch on YouTube the following week, starting March 23.

A Conversation with the Redheaded Stranger

Photo by Pamela Springsteen

One keynote speaker at Austin’s premier event is none other than the city’s patron saint, Willie Nelson. The legendary musician, author and activist returns to SXSW for a conversation with Texas Monthly’s Andy Langer about his monumental career, extensive philanthropic work and the launch of his cannabis companies, Willie’s Reserve and Willie’s Remedy.

Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free

Tom Petty Legacy, LLC / Warner Music Group

Showcasing never-before-seen footage from 1993–1995, while Petty was recording his seminal album, Wildflowers, Somewhere You Feel Free is a love letter to the titular artist at the peak of his creative powers. Director Mary Wharton showcases a vulnerable Petty along with mega-producer Rick Rubin and members of the original Heartbreakers lineup.