"It's going to be a huge year," Ray -- who last year hosted Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kenny Loggins, Eagles of Death Metal, ZZ Ward and others -- tells Billboard. "Every year I say there's now way we can top this, and every year we're like, 'Omigod! Wow! Really?!' This combines all the things I love; we offer free food, drinks and non-stop entertainment. I enjoy going to a party like that, and I like curating it, quite frankly. My husband and I like every type of music and we listen to every type of music in our home, and I like throwing a party that celebrates that."
Ray will feed the masses this year with Whiskey Chicken Drummer, 7-Hour Smoked Brisket Sliders, Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Sliders with Spicy Tahini and new sponsor Ball Park's Finest, a cracked Dijon mustard frankfurter with Kimchi Chow Chow relish. Drinks will be provided by the Blue Moon Brewing Company.
In addition to the open party, Ray will again operate an invitation-only Feedback House from March 13-15 on Austin's East Cesar Chavez Street. Sixteen acts have been lined up to perform over the three days, including the Sam Roberts Band, Band of Skulls, G. Love, Wild Ones and more, and Ray will offer more of her own specialties there along with offerings from Chicago's Lillie's Q barbecue, Gourdough's Specialty Doughnuts from Austin and Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream.
More information and updates will be available prior to and during SXSW here.
Meanwhile, Ray is also basking in Daryl Hall & John Oates' upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, having led a public campaign for the duo during the past couple of years. "I don't think we were responsible, certainly, but it's fun to brag that we started it," she says. "That one was so obvious to me, so I'm really happy to see them get it." Ray says Hall & Oates will be returning to her show shortly before the April 10 ceremony in Brooklyn, and she hopes to make an appearance on an upcoming episode of Hall's "Live From Daryl's House" series.