Lady Gaga’s performance and keynote speech at South By Southwest Festival will be historic for more than one reason. Not only will this mark Gaga’s first stint at SXSW, she’s also the youngest keynote speaker the fest has ever had at 27 — and the first woman in 15 years.
“I think she’s a pretty obvious keynote choice,” music festival general manager James Minor told MTV News. “Our festival is known for its diversity and I believe that having her as a keynote follows with that thinking. In the past we’ve had everybody from Lou Reed to Smokey Robinson to Dave Grohl. We’ve kept it pretty diverse throughout the years.”
Although speakers have, indeed, run the gamut over the years, it has been a while since one of those speakers has been a woman, according to Minor. The last female speaker was singer Lucinda Williams in 1999.
“It’s definitely not something that we planned,” Minor said. “It’s just kind of the way that things worked out. It’s about time.”
Gaga announced last week that she would be making her very first SXSW appearance with a performance Thursday evening at the Stubb’s Doritos #BoldStage.
All proceeds will go to the Born This Way Foundation and tickets will be doled out to fans who undertake Doritos Bold Mission challenges, which include everything from busking to leaping from a platform and nabbing a golden ticket.
— Goddess of Love (@ladygaga) March 8, 2014
Minor doesn’t know what is expected from the performance quite yet, but he thinks it will certainly be unique. “It’s something that she’s developing just for that show,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool situation. She’s playing such a small venue.”
He’s also not sure what will go down during the keynote, which will take place in the form of a conversation led by John Norris of Fuse on Friday at 11:00 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Austin-Downtown.
“I have no idea what to expect,” Minor said. “But I’m excited.”
What do you think the ARTPOP singer will say come Friday?