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Doritos Stage Pulled From SXSW But Issues Remain

At SXSW 2014, pop star Lady Gaga performed on a stage made to look like a five-story-tall Doritos vending machine, which won't be returning this week.
Kevin Mazur
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WireImage/Getty Images
At SXSW 2014, pop star Lady Gaga performed on a stage made to look like a five-story-tall Doritos vending machine, which won't be returning this week.

South by Southwest is in its 28th year, with its music festival starting Wednesday and featuring more than 2,200 bands from 62 countries.

But there were dark clouds last year. A driver plowed into a late-night crowd of fans, killing four and injuring two dozen others. Add that to the perennial complaints about too much corporate branding — like last year's Doritos stage — and large, drunken crowds. People are asking: Can SXSW reclaim its soul? At the audio link, hear SXSW co-founder and managing director Roland Swenson talk about the festival's growth and new security detail.

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As NPR's Southwest correspondent based in Austin, Texas, John Burnett covers immigration, border affairs, Texas news and other national assignments. In 2018, 2019 and again in 2020, he won national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio-Television News Directors Association for continuing coverage of the immigration beat. In 2020, Burnett along with other NPR journalists, were finalists for a duPont-Columbia Award for their coverage of the Trump Administration's Remain in Mexico program. In December 2018, Burnett was invited to participate in a workshop on Refugees, Immigration and Border Security in Western Europe, sponsored by the RIAS Berlin Commission.