World Cafe

WXPN Radio

The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe

XPN2 - Jingle Jams

XPN's own Kris Kringle, (Robert Drake) is presenting a unique mix of seasonal songs celebrating both the holiday and winter seasons.

World Cafe Archives

Join the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

XPoNential Radio

  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size

Roland Swenson

Roland Swenson Image by: Rob Patterson
Festival Co-Founder Roland Swenson On SXSW - From 700 Fans To Nearly 50,000

Roland Swenson is the Co-Founder/Managing Director of the South By Southwest Music Festival. The idea for the festival first began in 1986 when organizers of the NYC New Music Seminar contacted Swenson, then a staffer at the alt-weekly paper The Austin Chronicle, about organizing an extension to their festival in Austin. After the plans fell through, Swenson and others went ahead planning an event themselves and the first SXSW Festival began in 1987. Today Roland reveals they only expected 150 people for that first SXSW. The festival has been at the cutting edge of utilizing technology and multimedia to expand its outreach and to attract more guests from outside Austin to attend the festival. Today it is the largest music festival of its type in the world with more than 2,200 performers in over 100 venues. It has also become the highest revenue-producing event for the Austin economy, and in many ways it has put Austin on the map worldwide for music, even though it was once considered to be a smaller market outside the top 20 major markets. We’ll talk with Roland about the event’s history.