Roger Waters and Erin Lee Carr to Keynote SXSW 2020

Also appearing: Phoebe Robinson, 50 Cent & Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

Roger Waters has signed on as South by Southwest Music’s first keynote speaker of 2020. The singer, bassist, and activist served as the mastermind and lyricist behind two of the most popular albums of all time, Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon.

Roger Waters (Photo by Andrés Ibarra)

Last time the founding member of England’s most influential psych band rolled through town, he appeared at the Frank Erwin Center in 2012 amidst what became the highest grossing solo tour of all time. The Wall Live blew minds around the globe in over 219 dates.

In recent months, his concert film with a “message of human rights, liberty, and love,” Us + Them, has screened in local theaters. The 76-year-old Brit remains a well-known activist loudly critical of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the current U.S. government’s building a border wall with Mexico.

SXSW’s announcement of Waters procurement constitutes (ahem) another brick in the wall of Music keynotes, which last year included Beastie Boys cut-ups Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz, Kim Gordon, T Bone Burnett, and Shirley Manson.

Meanwhile, author and documentarian Erin Lee Carr added on as a SXSW Film keynote. Daughter of the late New York Times columnist David Carr, Erin tells difficult stories. Her Mommy Dead and Dearest recounts the killing of Dee Dee Blanchard and the involvement of her daughter, Gypsy Rose, who’d endured unthinkable psychological abuse.

Carr’s recent true crime works, distributed by HBO, include I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth V. Michelle Carter and At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal.

Home cooking enthusiasts take note: SXSW also marks a rare non-New-York appearance for the star chefs behind Bon Appétit Test Kitchen: Brad Leone, Claire Saffitz, Andy Baraghani, Molly Baz, Chris Morocco, Carla Lalli Music, and Alex Delany.

Other newly announced SXSW appearances of note include fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger; Us and Get Out composer Michael Ables in conversation with Bill Adair; Curtis50 CentJackson; artist and activist Madame Gandhi in a piece titled How to be Political in an Apolitical World; and comedian/podcaster Phoebe Robinson from 2 Dope Queens.

Here’s a full rundown of today’s SXSW programming announcements:

SXSW 2020 Keynotes

• Director, producer, and writer Erin Lee Carr (Film)


• Musician, singer, and songwriter Roger Waters (Music)

Featured Speakers


• Composer (Us, Get Out) Michael Abels in conversation with Politifact creator and professor Bill Adair (Making Film & Episodics)


• Beat Games s.r.o co-founder and Head of Music Jaroslav Beck (Future of Music)


• Amazon Web Services Vice President of Public Sector Partners and Programs Sandy Carter (Tech Industry & Enterprise)


Future of Sex founder and podcast host Bryony Cole (Connection & Culture)


• Founder, Co-Chief Investment Officer and Co-Chairman of Bridgewater Associates Ray Dalio (Tech Industry & Enterprise)


• Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital Arlan Hamilton (Startups)


• Fashion designer and founder Tommy Hilfiger in conversation with Tommy Hilfiger Global CEO Daniel Grieder (Connection & Culture)



• Multi-Grammy Award-winning musician, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Ben Lovett (Future of Music)


• Bassist, composer, and YouTuber Adam Neely (Future of Music)


• Canva CEO and co-founder Melanie Perkins (Design)


• Google Stadia Games and Entertainment VP Jade Raymond in conversation with journalist Chris Morris (Game Industry)


• Mojang Studios Chief Brand Officer Lydia Winters (Game Industry)

Featured Sessions


Big Brother Is Racist: Surveillance vs. Persons of Color (Government & Politics): a discussion about how surveillance and surveillance technologies, historically and currently, have been disproportionately deployed against persons of color, as well as the harmful impacts of such deployments, with Senior Advocacy and Policy Counsel at the ACLU Chad Marlow; Director of Georgetown Law’s Communications & Technology Law Clinic, and Associate Director of the Center on Privacy & Technology Laura Moy; Co-Director of MediaJustice Steven Renderos, and sociopolitical comedian, author and host W. Kamau Bell.


The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen (Connection & Culture): A behind-the-scenes conversation with Bon Appétit Test Kitchen chefs Brad Leone, Claire Saffitz, Andy Baraghani, Molly Baz, Chris Morocco, Carla Lalli Music, and Alex Delany appearing on stage together for the first time outside of New York.


Featured Session: Courtney Kemp, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson & Jeffrey Hirsch (Film & TV Industry): Join executive producers Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Courtney Kemp from Starz’s Original Series Power, as they sit with president and CEO of Starz, Jeffrey Hirsch, for a look inside the wildly popular drama series as well as upcoming expansions to the Power cinematic universe including the upcoming spinoff, Power Book II: Ghost starring Mary J. Blige.


Escaping Doom: Transforming Science into Experience (Design): a conversation about how scientific research can be integrated into an engaging, entertaining and educational storytelling experience, with Gensler principal David Kramer; University of Texas Assistant Dean, School of Design and Creative Technologies Doreen Lorenzo; Associate Professor in the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Texas Fernanda Leite; and general manager of Unreal Engine at Epic Games Marc Petit.


The Future of Influence is #accountable (Advertising & Brand Experience): a conversation about the spread of misinformation on social platforms and the responsibility of influencers, featuring actress and activist Sophia Bush and Seed Health co-founder and co-CEO Ara Katz.


How to be Political in an Apolitical World (Future of Music): A conversation about political activism in the music industry and the role artists can play in driving change, featuring Run the Jewels manager Amaechi Uzoigwe, #iVoted founder Emily White, Middle West Management and 46 for 46 founder Kyle Frenette, and artist and activist Madame Gandhi.


Immersive Entertainment and the Future of Games (Game Industry) with technology pioneer, entrepreneur and scientist Nolan Bushnell, founder of Collabsco Valerie Vacante, and X2 Games president, co-founder & Chief Creative Officer Zai Ortiz.


Latino Film Institute: Pipeline, Platform & Launch (Film & TV Industry): A conversation about the ideas and programs that LFI have placed into action to address the lack of representation in Hollywood and focus on the next generation of content creators, featuring Director of Research and Civic Engagement for the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón; actor producer and humanitarian Edward James Olmos; Founder & Co-Program Manager of LatinX in Animation Magdiela Hermida Duhamel; and writer and Latino Film Institute executive director Rafael Agustin.


Nat Geo Storytellers: Exploration Unleashed (Film & TV Industry): A conversation about modern day exploration with National Geographic Explorer, award-winning scientist, technologist and adventurer Albert Lin, and award-winning correspondent, investigative journalist and National Geographic Explorer Mariana van Zeller.


The Women Who Run the Shows (Film & TV Industry): A discussion about the experiences of female showrunners, their unique backstories and influences, including their early days in the industry to calling the shots, and their roles in comedy and on set, with multi-talented stand-up comedian, writer, and actress Phoebe Robinson; Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens showrunner Karey Dornetto; and Executive Producer and Showrunner of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Jen Flanz.

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