A. Tom Collins performs at the 512 Bar in Austin during the 2013 South By Southwest music festival. The Colorado band will return to SXSW in 2014.

(Photo: CPR/Corey H. Jones)
For the first time, Colorado will use public funds to push the state's presence at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas.

Around 40 Colorado bands will travel to Austin to play live during the annual festival, which takes place March 11 - 16.

Three cultural entities, Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) and Denver Arts and Venues, have collectively contributed $20,000 to the 2014 Colorado Music Party, a two-day event starting Thursday, March 13 that will feature performances by 30 acts with connections to the state.

Eighteen partners from the Front Range hope to gain a collective edge by collaborating on the Colorado Music Party, one of the events indirectly tied to SXSW that is vying to capture the attention of several hundred thousand people.

“If we’re looking at positioning Colorado to be competitive nationally and internationally, then we need to go to where those industry leaders are convening to be able to tell the Colorado story to attract more attention,” Margaret Hunt, director of CCI, says.

Founded in 1987 as a small festival drawing 700 people, SXSW has since grown to become one of the biggest industry gatherings in the country. The music portion alone tallied 25,119 registrants, more than 3,000 media attendees, and sets by 2,278 acts in 2013.

For more detailed coverage, tune in to CPR's inaugural arts show on Friday, March 7 at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. and return to CPR.org for additional Web coverage.