SXSW Sydney Bound in 2023: ‘A Great Day for Creatives’
The iconic South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival is expanding out of its spiritual home in Texas to Sydney in 2023, from October 15—22.
It’s the first time it be staged outside the United States.
SXSW Sydney will be the official Asia Pacific instalment of SXSW, which has been held each March since 1987 and is set to showcase music, screen, gaming, tech and innovation from across the region.
It will present a mix of ticketed events, free activations and week-long passes.
It is forecast to generate $150 million in visitor expenditure over the first five years and attract tens of thousands of people.
“We believe that Sydney’s similar future-focused, fast-moving culture that celebrates and cultivates creativity across many different industries, artistic endeavours and entrepreneurial projects makes it the perfect destination for an extension of our event,” said SXSW chief executive Roland Swenson.
SXSW Sydney is a collaboration between TEG and the NSW Government’s events and tourism arm Destination NSW.
Music business veteran Colin Daniels was this morning named the managing director of SXSW Sydney.
“I look forward to collaborating with our amazing creative communities here,” he said.
“Sydney is known for a lot of things … it truly is a diverse and cosmopolitan city and one of the great cities of the world … in entrusting us to present SXSW city the team recognised that our city has a similar spirit as Austin.”
“This is a great day for creatives.”
Added Geoff Jones, group CEO for TEG “SXSW is an event without equal internationally that has launched the careers of so many creative professionals.
“Through showcasing the creator industries of the Asia Pacific to the world, SXSW Sydney will establish a new SXSW touchpoint, enabling the international and cross-sector connections that deliver the most innovative products and content.”
ARIA’s chief executive Annabelle Herd called it a real opportunity for Australia to lead the global discussion on future trends, innovation and the value of the creative economy.
“The intertwined role of music in all of these pursuits is constantly evolving, and I cannot imagine a better forum to explore the truly significant cultural and economic impact music will have over the coming decades,” she said.
“This is a genuine game-changer for Sydney’s cultural outlook, but it is also an exceptional moment for the Asia Pacific region, which has long deserved a conference of this scale to acknowledge its increasingly undeniable impact on global trends and innovation. All of that aside, it’s also going to be very, very fun.”
APRA AMCOS chief executive Dean Ormston saw the event’s arrival in Australia as a major boost.
“SXSW Sydney is the injection that Australia’s burgeoning music industry needs as global markets seek more of our locally produced music,” he noted.
“Having SXSW hosted in Sydney is an incredible vote of confidence in local music creators. Whether its stadium concerts, festivals, on screen or in the next generation of digital games, Australian music is already travelling the globe as one of our great exports.
“SXSW Sydney will provide a vital new international platform showcasing the extraordinary talent of Australia’s music creators whether its live, digital, on screen or in new technologies and interactive games.”
Sydney will be the second location of SXSW’s 36th annual series of events, taking place from 15-22 October 2023.
In 2019, the year before COVID restrictions, the Austin event drew a total attendance of 280,000 to its official SXSW events, and injected US$355.9 million into the city’s economy.
Almost 18% of attendees were from 105 countries outside of the United States.
Australia has always regarded SXSW as an important launching pad for global success, with no less than ten acts starting or finalising deals after showcasing in Austin in 2015.
Three years ago, 750 local delegates attended and 54 acts showcased from 420 applications.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade funded Australia House as a hub for delegates, networking and showcases, and Sounds Australia is coordinating meetings and events such as its flagship Aussie BBQ.
Australia has an abundance of music conferences including BIGSOUND, Indie-Con, the Australian Festival Industry Conference, WAMCon, Melbourne Music Week, Electronic Music Conference and SoundWest.
But through the years, virtually every state and territory government pitched to have a local version of SXSW, with the most recent in Brisbane and Canberra.
In a 2022 report from the US operation, 50% of global attendees said they went to discover new business opportunities, 43% for career development, 34% to connect with existing clients and 16% to launch a new product or service.
Industry professionals, talent, partners and more can register their interest in SXSW Sydney here sxswsydney.com
SXSW’s Roland Swenson summed up: “Every day of the year we connect people to each other, developing events and content that celebrate
the inter-relatedness of current and emerging topics.
“We continue to push our own boundaries by evolving and expanding as we strive to deliver an experience of unexpected discovery and inspiration.”