AUSTIN, TEXAS --Minneapolis singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith doesn't exactly have high hopes for his first visit to the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas.

"My main goal is to catch a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse," he said Wednesday, referring to Austin's famed cinema bar/theater.

In other words, thousands of indie artists such as Messersmith -- who played his first of five gigs during the four-day festival Wednesday -- are flocking to the 23rd annual music industry bash simply for a good time and a chance to hang in Texas' hip capital. With the recording industry having slumped a few years before the economy as a whole, SXSW isn't about getting discovered and signing record deals anymore.

That doesn't mean attendance is down (word is it's holding strong, with 34,000 hotel rooms booked), nor is there a shortage of big-name acts.

The biggest non-secret in town is Metallica's plan for an unannounced set Friday to promote its new Guitar Hero video game. Rumors also have Kanye West, Jane's Addiction and Mötley Crue set to play corporate-sponsored parties in Austin this week. Some of the known performers include Devo, M. Ward, Tori Amos, Gomez, the Hold Steady and more Minnesotans such as Brother Ali and Solid Gold, while Quincy Jones is booked for today's keynote speech.

Things were already heating up Wednesday afternoon at Paste magazine's party, where the Heartless Bastards and Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears thrived under a giant tent in sweltering near-90-degree heat, while an out-of-town buzz band struggled.

"It's hot up here for a Swede," complained Loney Dear frontman Emil Svanängen. You didn't catch any of the Twin Cities performers complaining.