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SXSW Online 2021: Here's what to watch on Day 2, March 17

Eric Webb
Austin 360
Willie Nelson headlines the second day of SXSW Online.

It's back, and it's more comfy than ever: The first digital-only edition of South by Southwest started Tuesday. After the annual Austin conference and festivals had to cancel in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, SXSW returns with virtual programming March 16-20.

Here's what to catch on the second day of the fest, and check out our guide to how to watch the sessions, films and music showcases. Check the full schedule at

Session picks

Not to play favorites, but there's really only one name on everyone's lips today: Willie Nelson, Austin's very own cultural icon and country music star. He gives the Wednesday keynote at 1 p.m. — his first keynote for the fest in 34 years.

READ MORE::Our interview with Willie Nelson about SXSW keynote and more

Other sessions to keep an eye out for: actress Taraji P. Henson at 11 a.m., multihyphenate entertainers Queen Latifah and LL Cool J in conversation at 2 p.m., and comedian Kenan Thompson and performer Chance the Rapper in conversation at 5 p.m.

Tom Petty in the recording studio with Rick Rubin, from the documentary "Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free."

Film picks

The festival's centerpiece film, "Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free," premieres Wednesday. Catch the documentary about the rock legend at 6 p.m. 

More films we think are worth catching today: Andrea Riseborough-starring thriller "Here Before" at noon; COVID-19 buddy comedy "Recovery" at noon; and "Language Lessons," directed by "Parks and Recreation" actress Natalie Morales, at 2 p.m. 

More picks:Here's what to watch at SXSW Film 2021, the fest's first online edition

Music pick

At 5 p.m., catch the Black Fret showcase. The music patron nonprofit that began in Austin and now also has a chapter in Seattle has given away more than $1 million in grants to more than 100 Austin acts since launching in 2014. Their lineup for this hourlong SXSW showcase features Ley Line and Eimarol Sol, both alumni of Austin360’s Artist of the Month series, along with Sydney Wright, Motenko, PR Newman, American Dreamer and Buffalo Hunt. — Peter Blackstock

More SXSW music picks:Sample sounds from around the world

Our full coverage of SXSW is only possible thanks to Statesman subscribers. If you're not already a subscriber, become one today at New subscribers get a year of digital access at an introductory rate of $39 through March 18.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said that "Recovery" premiered at 2 p.m. It screened at noon.