Willie Nelson to Keynote Virtual SXSW Conference

Willie Nelson - Photofest - H 2019
NBC/Photofest

The event, which will take place online from March 16-20, will also feature speakers including Samantha Bee, Taraji P. Henson, Barry Jenkins and Matthew McConaughey.

South by Southwest is going virtual with the help of Willie Nelson.

The country music legend will keynote SXSW Online, event organizers announced Wednesday.

Annual event, which began more than 30 years ago, typically takes place in Austin, Texas, over several weeks in March. This year, SXSW will bring its programming — including the music and film festivals and interactive media conference — online from March 16-20.

"No individual has had the cultural impact on, or been more synonymous with the creative vibrancy of Austin than Willie Nelson, and we are incredibly honored to have him as a SXSW Online 2021 Keynote," said SXSW chief programming officer Hugh Forrest.

In addition to Nelson, SXSW has lined up speakers including Full Frontal host Samantha Bee, Empire actress Taraji P. Henson in conversation with SELF editor-in-chief Carolyn Kylstra and Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey in conversation with Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber.

Also on the lineup is panel with filmmaker Barry Jenkins and composer Nicholas Britell in which they will discuss their work together, including their upcoming collaboration on Amazon series The Underground Railroad. Other shows that will be spotlighted through panels are FXX's Dave and National Geographic's Genius: Aretha, the Story of the Queen of Soul, which stars Cynthia Erivo as the iconic singer.

SXSW currently has more than 230 sessions lined up for the four-day event. Additional speakers will be announced ahead of SXSW's kickoff.