South By Southwest, the iconic “festival of creativity”, will expand to Australia in 2023.
For the past 35 years, Austin, Texas has been the focal point of the global music industry each March, when artists, industry figures and music lovers flock to the city. south by southwest (SXSW).
More recently, the event has expanded to also incorporate film, technology, gaming and innovation, and quickly became a major event in those industries’ respective calendars as well.
SXSW is a bucket list pilgrimage for many Australian creators and music lovers, now the dream of attending just became that much more attainable.
Beginning in October 2023, Sydney will be the official annual host of the Asia-Pacific installment of SXSW, the first city to host an iteration of the event outside of North America.
The Sydney version of SXSW will feature more than 1,000 events, including keynote speakers, panels and summits, product demos, artist performances, screenings, live gaming sessions, and networking events and parties.
It will feature the same breadth of programming as its Austin counterpart, with music, screen, games and technology all to be featured during the week-long event.
Past keynote speakers have included Johnny Cash, stacey abrams, Elon Musk, Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, Lizzo Y mark zuckerberg.
For musicians, SXSW is notable as the place where emerging artists are discovered, with countless high-profile signings emerging from the event over the years.
“As a result of exhibiting at SXSW, Australian acts have secured countless deals, instigated key partnerships, attracted global media attention, gained legions of new fans and kick-started their international careers,” said Sounds Australia’s Dom Alessio in a statement today.
However, as the event has grown, it has also become a hive of secret shows from top acts, with everyone from The prince a metallic a Eminem and many more showing up to act unannounced.
Venues, performers and speakers for the Sydney installment have yet to be announced.
“An exceptional moment for the Asia Pacific region”
SXSW attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Austin each year, with more than 2,000 bands and artists performing in venues, conference centers and storefronts on the city’s main streets.
The NSW Government hopes the event will reinforce its reputation as a world-class destination for both business and leisure.
“SXSW Sydney will provide significant benefits to the NSW visitor economy, with unprecedented networking opportunities to advance our creative and technology industries.,” Minister for Business, Investment and Trade, Minister for Tourism and Sport and Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayers said.
The news of SXSW’s expansion to Australia has been well received by the Australian music industry.
“SXSW Sydney has the potential to capture the minds and imaginations of the next generation of great Australian music creators and entrepreneurs,” APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston said in a statement.
“If Australia is to achieve its goal of being one of the world’s great music markets, we must invest in a new generation of culturally and digitally literate entrepreneurial creative music producers and artists.”
The last hope for many industry figures is recognition of the value of our creative economy, and they have high hopes that SXSW will help shine a light on this.
“As perhaps the largest-scale event since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, SXSW presents a real opportunity for Australia to lead the global discussion on future trends, innovation and the value of the creative economy,” said ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd, in a statement.
“This is a true game-changer for Sydney’s cultural outlook, but it is also a banner moment for the Asia Pacific region, which is long overdue for a conference of this scale to acknowledge its increasingly undeniable impact on global trends. and innovation”.
SXSW will take place in Sydney from Sunday October 15 to Sunday October 22, 2023.