It has been announced that Willie Nelson will be the 2021 keynote speaker for the SXSW Online conference, according to Rolling Stone.

This year's event will take place March 16th - 20th, and for the second year in a row, SXSW will not be held in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Rolling Stone:

Chief Programming Officer Hugh Forrest explains that "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."

In addition to Nelson, there will be numerous others speaking and appearing during this year’s virtual festival including: Actor Matthew McConaughey, comedian and TV show host Samantha Bee, Devo bandmate Mark Mothersbaugh, rapper Wyclef Jean plus quite a number of others on panels. LL Cool J and Queen Latifah will appear in conversation, and there will be a panel dedicated to Aretha Franklin.

All told, there will actually be more than 200 panels taking place during SXSW, covering everything from the impact of the pandemic on live music to the rise of TikTok as a hitmaking booster.

Nelson, a Texas native, has a long history with SXSW. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic's onset, Willie's Luck Reunion at Spicewood Ranch became a mainstay of the festival.

Even though he hasn't been unable to spend time on the road over the past year due to the pandemic, Nelson's been staying busy. In December, he announced the upcoming release of That’s Life, his second tribute album to Frank Sinatra.

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