After beginning as a showcase for live musical talent, SXSW has branched out into film, comedy and education, with appearances throughout the year from some of the world’s leading entertainers and cultural influencers: Barack and Michelle Obama, Jordan Peele, Dave Grohl, Taika Waititi, Brenée Brown, Steven Spielberg, Mark Cuban, Lady Gaga and Johnny Cash.
Australian ties to the festival go back several years, and Australia House traditionally hosts a week-long showcase of food, wine, sightseeing experiences, music and performances under the G’day USA brand.
Amy Shark, Amyl & The Sniffers, Guy Sebastian, King Parrot, Middle Kids, Peking Duk, Remi, The Teskey Brothers and Troye Sivan have appeared at festivals under this banner.
This year, Australian feature films seriously red, directed by Gracie Otto, and Sissythe documentary Cleansed and virtual reality (VR) project VR lustration made their world premieres at SXSW.
The addition of SXSW Sydney to the festival calendar will be a boost for state tourism.
Minister for Tourism and Sport Stuart Ayres said: “SXSW Sydney will provide significant benefits to the NSW visitor economy, with unprecedented networking opportunities to advance our creative and technological industries. The best of the creative and tech industries in Asia Pacific will be on display during SXSW Sydney, while attracting thousands of people from around the world to enjoy our spectacular port city.”
South by Southwest will take place in Austin next March, before heading to Sydney in October.